VIENNA, May 6 (RIA Novosti) - The West continues to ignore the fact that Ukrainian army is fighting side by side with neo-Nazis against their own people, Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.
Lavrov said that European Union and US officials avoid commenting on the fact that the Ukrainian army was ordered to fight together with neo-Nazi groups against protesters in eastern and southeastern regions.
“In the midst of February Maidan confrontations in Kiev, NATO Defense Ministers and Secretary General stated the inadmissibility of intervention of the armed forces of Ukraine in the political process, and insisted on the neutrality of the army,” Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister said that Brussels and Washington continue to confirm the legitimacy of the so-called “anti-terrorist operation” led by Kiev’s authorities explaining that the state has the monopoly on the use of armed forces.
Since seizing power on February 22, the coup-installed government has sought to reinforce the country’s regular military forces with members of radical groups who fought against police during the street violence in Kiev.
Radical nationalist movements were an important force at the so-called Euromaidan protests that erupted in Kiev last November. Activists took part in the seizure of administration buildings, stole weapons and attacked security forces. Currently, far-right activists are involved in suppressing pro-federalization protests in eastern Ukrainian regions.
Dmitry Yarosh, a notorious leader of the ultranationalist Right Sector movement, announced last month the creation of paramilitary units whose aim would be to help regular troops to crush dissent in the east. Since that time, their involvement in deadly violence in rebel regions has been widely reported by pro-federalization protesters.
The country’s authorities have also established the National Guard, a new military structure made of “troops loyal to the new regime and self-defense units” formed by Euromaidan protesters this winter.
“All the members of the Council of Europe must firmly stop the ultra-nationalists activities, and those who indulge the ideology and the practice of fascism cannot be justified, even if they were politicians enjoying the protection of the enlightened western democracies,” Lavrov said.
The growing political influence of neo-Nazis and ultranationalists in Ukraine has raised concerns among the country’s Russian speakers and other national minorities, prompting several eastern and southeastern regions to demand greater autonomy or even secession.
The incumbent government comprises members of the notorious neo-Nazi Svoboda party, an active promoter of ultranationalist ideas. Its members follow ideas of Stepan Bandera, who collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II and is known for atrocities committed during the wartime ethnic cleansing of Poles, Jews and Russians.
With the presidential campaign in Ukraine in full swing, a slew of Ukrainian presidential candidates have been actively propagating their far-right views, including Yarosh and Svoboda member Oleh Tyahnybok.