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    Is the US Training Ukrainian Neo-Nazis?

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    US lawmakers voted last month against providing American funding and training for Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov battalion, but there is no way of ensuring that ex-US military are not training crypto-Nazis in a private capacity, a US website wrote in April.

    Sgt. Ivan Kharkiv of the Azov battalion talked in an interview about his battalion’s experience with US trainers and volunteers quite fondly, even mentioning that US volunteer engineers and medics are still assisting them, The Daily Beast reported.

    He also mentioned the significant and active support from the Ukrainian diaspora in the US.

    Those US officials involved in the vetting process obviously have instructions to say that US forces are not training the Azov Battalion as such.

    They also say that Azov members are screened out, yet no one seems to know precisely how that’s done.

    In fact, given the way the Ukrainian government operates, it’s almost impossible.

    When asked how the vetting process weeds out Azov members, for instance, State Department representative and Press Officer Yarina Ferentsevych of the US Embassy in Ukraine said that those who have not committed “gross human rights violations” but identify themselves with the Nazis and even with the SS can get a free pass.

    She said that they didn’t individually interview everyone and ask them what their individual philosophies were, because they knew people could lie.

    James Bissett, a retired Canadian diplomat who now consults the International Organization of Migration in Moscow, has argued that it would not be possible to detect all the Azov members who have dispersed into the National Guard battalions.

    “These militias [such as Azov] are being merged with Ukraine’s military, so we won’t be able to determine who we are training,” he said.

    Congressman Charlie Wilson, the godfather of American support for the Afghan mujahedeen, said that “the problem is that the Azov battalion is nuzzled so deeply into the Ukrainian government that they are nearly impossible to weed out…”

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    Tags:
    U.S. Department of State, US military instructors, Ukrainian neo-Nazis, Azov Battalion, Ukrainian National Guard, Yarina Ferentsevych, Ivan Kharkiv, James Bissett, United States, Ukraine
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