06:33 GMT +314 October 2019
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    Students of the Azov battalion are dispatched to the conflict zone in southeastern Ukraine

    Spanish Mercenaries Fighting in Kiev Volunteer Battalions

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    Spanish mercenaries are fighting in far-right paramilitary militias, including in the Azov battalion alongside Kiev forces and other radical volunteers, one of the Spaniards arrested last week over alleged fighting in Donbas said.

    MADRID (Sputnik) – Spaniards are among foreign mercenaries fighting in the Donbas region alongside Ukrainian forces, the Spaniards who were arrested last week by Spanish police over alleged fighting in eastern Ukraine and later released told Sputnik on Monday.

    The mercenaries are fighting in far-right paramilitary militias, including in the Azov battalion alongside Kiev forces and other radical volunteers, the detained Spaniards said.

    "We have clues that there are Spaniards in the neo-Nazi Azov battalion," Sergio V., one of the detainees, said, who was fighting in eastern Ukraine between September and December 2014.

    Hector Arroyo, another detained by the Spanish police, agreed there are both Spanish mercenaries and people who came to support Ukraine for ideological reasons. Arroyo argues that the fighters fighting alongside Kiev forces are not detained because Spain is openly supporting the new Ukrainian government, including with military equipment.

    Ramiro Gomez, head of the Madrid Committee in Support of Anti-Fascist Ukraine points out that Spanish justice has double standards, only accusing Spaniards who support the anti-fascists.

    "We know there are mercenaries, who used to be professional servicemen in Spain, they are fighting together with fascist groups and get paid. But nobody is going to prosecute them," Gomez said.

    Gomez also said there were branches of Ukraine's largest commercial bank PrivatBank in Spain, saying that payments to the neo-Nazi volunteers proceed through this bank.

    Last week, Spanish National police arrested eight Spanish citizens who allegedly took part in the Ukrainian conflict. The arrested were accused of involvement in crimes of murder, possession of weapons and explosives and acts against the interests of Spain abroad. The authorities said that all of the detainees fought on the same side, but did not specify any further details.

    However, Agustin Rivas, a representative of the Madrid Committee in Support of Anti-Fascist Ukraine, confirmed to Sputnik on Friday that all eight Spanish citizens fought alongside independence supporters.

    Rivas added that the accusations against the detained had "nothing to do with reality," stressing that what happened was "a manifestation of double standards" since no Spanish citizens who fought alongside Kiev were arrested.

    All the detainees were released following interrogation.


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