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Russian FM: Increase in Neo-Fascism Sentiment in Ukraine Alarming

© AP Photo / Efrem LukatskyNationalist March in Kiev
Nationalist March in Kiev - Sputnik International
NEW YORK (Sputnik) - The recent attack on the Russian cultural center (Rossotrudnichestvo) in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev is a yet another attempt to destroy the common culture of Russia and Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"That is a part of the tendency. There are permanent attempts to set us against each other. Culture is also used to achieve that. In order to force Russia out of Ukraine, it is necessary to close all Russian language centers, all centers of Rossotrudnichestvo, simply ban teaching the Russian history and everything linked to our country — to destroy the common cultural space. Is it a need of the Ukrainian people? Of course, no. That is a political environment, ideology of current Kiev authorities," Zakharova told reporters in New York.

On Wednesday, Konstantin Vorobiev, the director of the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Kiev, said that radicals attacked him in the center of Kiev, when he wanted to lay down flowers to WWII memorial commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War.

Activists and supporters of Ukrainian nationalist parties and movements hold a protest at the office of the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Kiev, Ukraine February 17, 2018 - Sputnik International
Ukrainian Nationalists Reportedly Attack Russian Cultural Center in Kiev
Meanwhile, the growing number of neo-Fascism supporters in Ukraine is alarming as such movements are supported by the Ukrainian authorities, who are trying to "whitewash" the extremists, Russian Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

While addressing the OSCE Permanent Council, the Russian envoy stressed that Ukraine is the only OSCE member state that has allowed incorporation of the Nazi groups, including the extremist Right Sector, outlawed in Russia, to the national law enforcement agencies.

"The rapid growth of influence of modern supporters of Fascism causes serious concern … Swastika and other Nazi symbols as well as torchlight processions are gaining momentum, while the monuments for Soviet fighters are being vandalized. The fact that all this is becoming a casual manifestation in Ukraine is an outright mockery of historical memory of the Ukrainian people, who had suffered huge losses during the Great Patriotic War," Lukashevich said.

The envoy cited the work of such radical groups as the C14, Brotherhood and White Hammer as examples of the outbreak of neo-Fascism in Ukraine.

A man carrying a picture of Stepan Bandera during a torchlight procession of Ukrainian nationalists in downtown Kiev. File photo - Sputnik International
Ukrainian Nationalists Participating in Rally in Kiev to Mark Bandera's Birthday
"The Ukrainian authorities are trying to whitewash the Nazis collaborators and war criminals – the members of Ukrainian Insurgent Army and Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, portraying them as fighters for freedom, even though they have thousands of people killed or martyred on their hands. ‘The bloody idols’ of the Ukrainian nationalism, such as Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych are persistently imposed on society as moral guidelines," Lukashevich underlined.

In January, over 1,000 supporters of the Ukrainian Svoboda nationalist party took part in a traditional torchlight procession in Kiev's city center to commemorate the 109th anniversary of the birth of Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement. Bandera collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II and was responsible for numerous atrocities against civilians as a leader of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

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