Assault Brigade "Azov"

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Assault Brigade "Azov"

Штурмова бригада «Азов»
LeaderDenys Prokopenko
FounderAndriy Biletskyy
Founded5 May 2014
Political orientationNeo-Nazism
Ukrainian nationalism


The Assault Brigade "Azov", also known as the Azov Battalion, Azov Regiment, or Azov Special Operations Detachment, is a neo-Nazi[1] Ukrainian militia trained, funded and armed by the United States[2][3][4], Canada,[5] and the United Kingdom.[6] In September 2022, members of the Azov Battalion met with the U.S. Congress.[7]

Six months after being founded, it was incorporated into Ukraine's official National Guard.[8] They have fought against Russia and pro-Russian rebels in Donbas.[9]

Andriy Biletskyy, the battalion's first commander, said he wants Ukraine to lead a crusade of "white races" against "Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans]."[10][11]

Size and influence[edit | edit source]

It is a not insignificant part of the Ukrainian National Guard, being a regiment of at least 1,000 soldiers as of 2014[12] and 3,000 by 2018.[13] A regiment typically ranges from 2,000 to 8,000 heads.[14] It plays a core role in the fascist base of the Ukrainian government in the present day while being the product of a line of fascists since the Nazi collaborators in the Second World War.[15][16][17]

The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence claimed in March 2022 that it is "likely" that the Ukrainian government has control over the Azov Battalion.[18][6] "Likely" may be a generous term considering the fact Azov roundly ignored President Zelenskyy's desperate pleas to remove their weapons from the Donbass frontline, insisting "I’m the president of this country. I’m 41 years old. I’m not a loser. I came to you and told you: remove the weapons."[19] Further, Azov's former leader and founder Andriy Biletsky, who left the militia after becoming an MP, promised to maintain his career in the armed forces "without titles" despite the fact that lawmakers are forbidden from military service.[11]

The Ministry of Defence defends its funding of the Ukrainian military by spreading disinformation about Azov's political stance. It claims that Azov has seen remarkable political growth in less than 10 years, from its "ultra-nationalist background" with founding members "espousing white nationalist and ultra-nationalist views [and] Anti-Semitic views", to asserting that all its founding members have now left the militia and that "the Azov Battalion currently employs Jewish members".[20] This argument is similar to the contention that Ukraine does not have a Nazi problem because its President is Jewish,[19] a sentiment not held by the Ukrainian Jewish Committee which has reported on the government's glorification of Nazi collaborators and daily anti-Semitic incidents.[21]

Historical context[edit | edit source]

The inspiration for the Azov Battalion's emblem lies in Nazi Germany's SS (Schutzstaffel)

The Azov Battalion has its history in the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist movement. This movement would adopt fascism during the rise of the Third Reich and, in the Second World War, flock to join the Galician division of the SS during Operation Barbarossa. They have been continuously deployed by imperialism to first, undermine the Soviet Union and, in the present day, undermine the Donbass people's republics and the Russian Federation.[15]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lev Golinkin (2019-02-22). "Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine" The Nation. Retrieved 2022-01-09.
  2. "Ukraine extremists armed with US antitank weapons systems - Russian OSCE ambassador" (2018-01-18).
  3. James Carden (2016-01-14). "Congress Has Removed a Ban on Funding Neo-Nazis From Its Year-End Spending Bill" The Nation. Retrieved 2022-01-09.
  4. "Supporting Neo-Nazis in Ukraine".
  5. Christy Somos (2022-04-28). "Mounting evidence Canada trained Ukrainian extremists, gov't needs to be held to account: experts" CTV News. Archived from the original on 2022-05-03. Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Ukraine: Military Aid" (2022-03-24). UK Parliament.
  7. Moss Robeson (2022-10-05). "‘Now, All of You Are Azov’: ‘openly neo-Nazi’ Ukrainian delegation meets Congress, tours US" The Grayzone. Archived from the original on 2022-10-06. Retrieved 2022-10-07.
  8. "Роз'яснення щодо статусу спецпідрозділу "Азов"" (2015-04-23). National Guard of Ukraine. Archived from the original on 2015-07-09. Retrieved 2022-01-09.
  9. "Ukrainian Military Personnel: Volunteers" (2015-08-04). Global Security.org. Retrieved 2022-01-09.
  10. Ben Chacko, John Wojcik (2022-02-03). "Neo-Nazis active in Ukraine as White House adds 3,000 troops" People's World. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Steve Sweeney (2022-04-07). ""HURRAH FOR THE AZOV!"- The curious case of the BBC whitewashing of Nazism in Ukraine" Al Mayadeen.
  12. Ultra-nationalist Ukrainian battalion gears up for more fighting (2015-03-25). Reuters
  13. Stephen F. Cohen (2018-05-02). "America’s Collusion With Neo-Nazis" The Nation. Archived from the original on 2022-04-27. Retrieved 2022-05-07.
  14. https://www.britannica.com/topic/regiment
  15. 15.0 15.1 Joti Brar (2022-07). "Disappearing context: The West has created and backed Ukrainian fascists for 85 years" Lalkar.
  16. We're arming neo-Nazis! (2022-01-25). Workers Party of Britain, YouTube
  17. Is Ukraine Fascist? (2015-02-03). HuffPost. Archived from the original on 2022-02-26.
  18. "Ukraine: Armed Forces" (2022-03-17). UK Parliament.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Alexander Rubinstein and Max Blumenthal (2022-03-04). "How Ukraine’s Jewish president Zelensky made peace with neo-Nazi paramilitaries on front lines of war with Russia" The Grayzone.
  20. "Ukraine: Radicalism" (2022-03-17). UK Parliament.
  21. “Our government encourages glorification of Nazi collaborators, mass-murderers, and murderers of Jews. Literally, there are hundreds of monuments, streets, named after killers of Jews. [...] We have anti-Semitic incidents every day. There is vandalism of mass graves - Holocaust mass graves. Vandalism on Jewish monuments. Sholem Aleichem latest - was vandalised with swastikas in Kiev, central Kiev.”

    "Ukrainian Jewish Committee: Our government encourages the glorification of Nazi collaborators" (2022-03-14). Archived from the original on 2022-03-23.