Stories about the presence of foreign nazis fighting in Kiev’s “anti-terrorist operation” as part of the Azov Battalion have been circulating for some time. Now two reports by the BBC and the Irish Times provide more details about them and about the role of the neo-nazi Social Nationalist Assembly in the Battalion.
The Azov Battalion has been established under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but its commanders are all from the neo-nazi organisation Social Nationalist Assembly and its recruits come mostly from far right and neo-nazi organisations (the SNA, Patriots Ukraine, Brotherhood, etc).
The report by Dina Newman on the BBC focuses on the figure of Mikael Skillt, a Swedish nazi sniper who is part of the Battalion. He is not just any fighter but he admits to playing certain commanding roles: “I have at least three purposes in the Azov Battalion: I am a commander of a small reconnaissance unit, I am also a sniper, and sometimes I work as a special coordinator for clearing houses and going into civilian areas.”
As for his political views, this is what he told the BBC reporter: “I would be an idiot if I said I did not want to see survival of white people. After World War Two, the victors wrote their history. They decided that it’s always a bad thing to say I am white and I am proud.”
The journalist adds that “Mr Skillt believes races should not mix. He says the Jews are not white and should not mix with white people. His next project is to go fight for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because he believes Mr Assad is standing up to “international Zionism””
Dina Newman then goes on to explain who commands the Azov Battalion: “The key figures in the Azov Battalion are its commander, Andriy Biletsky, and his deputy, Ihor Mosiychuk. Andriy Biletsky is also the leader of a Ukrainian organisation called the Social National Assembly. Its aims are stated in one of their online publications:
- “to prepare Ukraine for further expansion and to struggle for the liberation of the entire White Race from the domination of the internationalist speculative capital”
- “to punish severely sexual perversions and any interracial contacts that lead to the extinction of the white man”
This, according to experts, is a typical neo-Nazi narrative.”
But when she asks the Ministry of Interior about the neo-nazi leadership of the Battalion, its spokesperson denies it:
“A ministerial adviser, Anton Gerashchenko, got angry when I asked him if the battalion had any neo-Nazi links through the Social National Assembly.
“The Social National Assembly is not a neo-Nazi organisation,” he said.
“It is a party of Ukrainian patriots who are giving their lives while the rich Europeans are only talking about supporting Ukraine. …
“Mr Gerashchenko was adamant, however, that there were no foreign citizens fighting in the Azov Battalion. “There are foreign journalists, from Sweden, Spain and Italy, who have come to report on the heroic achievements of the fighters in their struggle against terrorism,” he said.”
Not only the Ministry of Interior is incorporating a neo-nazi organisation into the security apparatus, thus legalising paramilitary thugs, but then a spokesperson for the ministry talks of them as “patriots” and praises their “heroic achievements”.
The article in the Irish Times, by Daniel McLaughlin mentions the presence of Swedes and one Canadian in the Battalion. The journalist describes the role of the Social Nationalist Assembly in the Azov Battalion. “The unit was formed by the Social National Assembly, a Ukrainian nationalist group described by critics as violently racist, and its emblem includes variations on the “black sun” and “wolf’s hook” symbols long associated with Nazism.”
One of the ideologues of the SNA who also plays a commanding role in the Azov Battalion openly boasts about the presence of foreigners in the Battalion:
“Volunteers have come from Russia, France, Italy, Belarus, Canada, Sweden, Slovenia – many countries,” said Oleg Odnorozhenko, a self-proclaimed ideologue of the Social National Assembly.
“We have had about two dozen foreigners so far. Lots more want to come but we select those with relevant experience,” he added, noting that a Georgian special forces trainer was working “semi-officially” with Azov.”
The ideology of one of the Swedes is described in this way:
“Severin calls himself a national socialist, but rejects the connotations that he says come with the term “neo-Nazi”. He wanted to serve in the Swedish army “to protect my land and people” but was rejected due to his political beliefs.”
The other two are also nazis:
Like the two men alongside him, Mikola from Stockholm and a man from Canada who uses the nickname “Lemko”, Severin is against immigration, multiculturalism, globalisation and the rampant capitalism and liberalism he sees ruining the modern world.
The three men share a faith in the strength of ethnically pure nations, living according to their traditions.
When MacLaughlin asks someone in the administration of the governor of Donetsk, the Kiev imposed oligarch Taruta, about the Battalion and the nazis which lead it, he is “pragmatic”:
Vasyl Arbuzov, an adviser to Donetsk governor Sergei Taruta, said Ukraine’s nationalists were bound far less by ideology than by a desire to defend the country.
“These aren’t the kind of guys I hang out with on the weekend but, at the moment, they are the kind of guys we need because they are willing to fight,” he said.
We have reported and warned before about the fact that the Battalions created by the Ministry of Interior to fight in the “anti terrorist operation” were basically a form of legalising paramilitary fascist organisations, but this seems to be the first time this has been reported by mainstream media in the West (in Ukraine everyone is aware of it).