|Special Operations Detachment "Azov"
(Zahin Osoblyvogo Priznacenniya)
Sleeve badge of the Azov Regiment
|Active||5 May 2014 – present|
|Branch||National Guard of Ukraine, Ukrainian Armed Forces|
|Type||Regular military unit (Detachment/Regiment)|
|Role||Light infantry, armored infantry|
|Size||Approx. 1000 men in various sub-units|
|Garrison/HQ||Urzuf, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. Other HQs and detachments in Kiev and Mariupol|
|Colours||Blue and Gold|
|Colonel Andriy Biletsky|
|Andrey Biletsky, Vadym Troyan, Igor Mosijchuk, Dmytro Linko|
The Azov Regiment (Ukrainian: Полк Азов) is a right-wing extremist and neo-Nazi regiment of the National Guard of Ukraine. It saw its first combat experience recapturing Mariupol from pro-Russian separatists forces in June 2014. Initially a volunteer militia, formed as the Azov Battalion on 5 May 2014 during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine, since 12 November 2014 Azov has been incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard.
According to NBC News, the organization was "founded by an avowed white supremacist who claimed Ukraine's national purpose was to rid the country of Jews and other inferior races." The Guardian reported in 2015, "while the Azov and other volunteer battalions might be Ukraine's most potent and reliable force on the battlefield against the [Donbas] separatists, they also pose the most serious threat to the Ukrainian government, and perhaps even the state." Its founder, Andriy Biletsky famously described the Azov Battalion's role in the Revolution of Dignity, "we have fun killing."
After the incorporation of the Azov Battalion into the Ukrainian military, Azov leaders were dispersed throughout Ukrainian military and security services, and into its bureaucratic and political structure.
In 2019, the Soufan Center, created by former FBI agent Ali Soufan, who was involved in a number of counter-terrorism cases, warned about the connection between the Azov Battalion and white nationalists. “In Ukraine, the Azov Battalion has recruited foreign fighters motivated by white supremacy and neo-Nazi beliefs, including many from the West, to join its ranks and receive training, indoctrination and instruction in irregular warfare,” the report outlined.
On February 24, 2022, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, announced "Operation Denazification" to clean out the fascist battalions which have waged war on the civilians of the Donbas Republics since 2014, killing at least 13,000. Azov Battalion members were added to Armed Forces of the Ukraine (AFU) units to function as political commissars during the 2022 Ukraine war, executing Ukrainian soldiers who wanted to surrender to Russian forces. Azov members were accused by civilian survivors of committing heinous war crimes against civilians, including murder and the use of civilians, including children, as human shields.
The Azov Battalion's anti-Semitism stems from the great famines of the 1920s and 1930s in the Ukraine, resulting from Stalin’s confiscation of crops to finance the modernization of the Red Army. This genocide, known in the Ukraine as the Holodomor, was perpetrated by the NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB, whose upper echelons of leadership were mainly composed of Jews until Joseph Stalin's Great Purge in the late 1930s. This is why, today, Ukrainian ultranationalists are using this in order to be asking Israel to "apologize" for the crimes of communism, as the Jerusalem Post notes. Though Stalin, despite commonly being alleged to have had partial Jewish ancestry, had no Jewish links and rather persecuted Jews and he was the one overseeing all decisions. Nor is there a connection between those Communists and The state of Israel established by a variety of backgrounds and ideologies.
The Azov Battalion began as a volunteer formation in May 2014 shortly after the U.S.-backed Maidan coup, and in late 2014 was brought within the Ukrainian National Guard by the Maidan regime, and in 2015 became a regiment. From the outset it aroused considerable attention, including abroad, due to the pronounced neo-Nazi views of its leaders and members.
Real concern arose at the parliamentary elections in October 2014, with a number of leaders of volunteer battalions, including Andriy Biletsky and Ihor Mosiychuk from the Azov Battalion standing for election. After months of war against the Donetsk and Luhansk independent republics, any person seen as a Ukrainian military hero was effectively guaranteed a seat in parliament. This was the case with both Mosiychuk and Biletsky. Mosiychuk’s parliamentary career has been filled with scandal, and he is currently facing criminal charges. Biletsky said "Ukraine's mission is to lead the white races of the world in a final crusade against Semite-led Untermenschen (subhumans)", echoing the words of Heinrich Himmler, Template:Quotebox-float Given the alleged collaboration in Bila Tskerkva, it is perhaps of relevance that Vadim Troyan, Deputy Commander of Azov and, like Biletsky, a former member of the neo-Nazi ‘Patriot of Ukraine’, was appointed Head of the Kyiv Regional Police in November 2014.
As well as questionable activities during the Crimean Annexation, Azov Battalion activists have been accused of involvement in a racist attack on football fans during the Champions League football match in Kyiv on October 20, 2015 and it was their aggression and threats that prevented a remembrance gathering on January 19, 2016 for slain anti-fascist and anti-Maidan lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova.
In 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a provision blocking any training of Azov members by American forces, citing its neo-Nazi connections. The House had previously passed amendments banning support of Azov between 2014 and 2017, but due to pressure from the Pentagon, the amendments were quietly lifted. This was protested by the Simon Wiesenthal Center which stated that lifting the ban highlighted the danger of Holocaust distortion in Ukraine. NATO by-passed the congressional action by training Azov fighters in Canada. Congress later rescinded the prohibition.
Since 2014 the Azov Battalion has organized summer training camps for children as young a six across Ukraine. The children are trained children to fight Russia. The summer camp training program constitutes the first stage of recruitment into the battalion. The program familiarizes young children with the use of light automatic weapons according to a 2015 article by The Kyiv Post. Children are trained by in a range of activities, such as stripping down and assembling AK-47 assault rifles, target practice with air guns, assault courses, and practicing combat and patrolling.
At such camps, the Azov Battalion's flag is lowered every day as the children and fighters together sing the chorus, 'Death to the Russians'. U.S. support for the Azov Battalion's training of child soldiers with weapons and funding is viewed throughout the planet as a crime against humanity.
To by-pass American law, NATO trained the Azov Nazis in Canada.
In March 2016 retired Canadian soldier Oksana Kuzyshyn spoke at an event titled “A Canadian’s experience training the AZOV Battalion to NATO standards”. One month earlier “nearly 200 officer cadets and professors of Canada’s Royal Military College” attended a screening of Ukrainians/Les Ukrainiens: God’s Volunteer Battalion, which praised fascist militias fighting in the Donbas.
On November 9, 2021, Ottawa Citizen military reporter David Pugliese revealed that when Canadian military officials met with the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion in June 2018, they knew the group used the Nazi “Wolfsangel” symbol and praised officials who helped slaughter Jews and Poles during World War II. “A year before the meeting,” reports Pugliese, "Canada’s Joint Task Force Ukraine produced a briefing on the Azov Battalion, acknowledging its links to Nazi ideology." Rather than express public disagreement with their views, Canadian military officials sought to manage any potential public relations fallout from at least two meetings, which included Azov representatives boasting about their Canadian support.
A September 2021 report from an Institute at George Washington University revealed that Centuria boasted about being trained by some of the 200 Canadian troops in the Ukraine. The report detailed Centuria members making Nazi salutes, praising SS units and promoting white supremacy.
Alongside the U.S., Canada has funded, equipped and trained the neo-Nazi infiltrated National Police of Ukraine (NPU), which was founded after the democratically Yanukovych was overthrown. A former deputy commander of the Azov Battalion, Vadim Troyan had a series of senior positions in the NPU, including acting chief.
To a large extent governments of Canada and the United States view Ukraine as a proxy to weaken Russia. As part of this geopolitical competition, they’ve backed neo-Nazi militia members fighting the independent Donbas republics.
Joe Lauria of Consortium News reported that The New York Times was in Bucha, Ukraine on April 2, 2022 and did not report a massacre. Instead, the Times confirmed the Russian withdrawal was completed two days after the mayor of Bucha said it was, and that the Russians left “behind them dead soldiers and burned vehicles, according to witnesses, Ukrainian officials, satellite images and military analysts.” The Times said reporters found the bodies of six civilians. “It was unclear under what circumstances they had died, but the discarded packaging of a Russian military ration was lying beside one man who had been shot in the head,” the paper said. In Bucha, the Times was close to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, whose soldiers appear in the newspaper’s photographs. 'The Times suggests that Azov may responsible for the killings: Template:Quotebox-float
Battle of Mariupol
On March 26, 2022 two officers of the main department of external security of the Ministry of Defense of the French Republic (DGSE) flying by helicopter were shot down by Russian forces while on a mission to withdraw fighters from the Battle of Mariupol. The two were immediately taken prisoner by the Russians. According to reports by both a Russian and Ukrainian source, French soldiers from the Special Operations Command were in Mariupol side by side with the Azov Nazis. Troops attached to the Special Operations Command are under the orders of Chief of the Defense Staff, General Thierry Burkhard, but they receive their orders directly from the Chief of the Armed Forces, President Emmanuel Macron. On March 31, 2022, General Eric Vidaud, the head of the Direction of Military Intelligence (DRM), was fired.
Public broadcaster France-Télévision presented a report on during the France-2 evening news, on March 31, 2022. The report acknowledged that the Azov Battalion consisted of neo-Nazi elements since 2014, singling out one of its founders, Andriy Biletsky, but insisted that it had evolved into a respectable defense force. However, France-2 omitted to mention its other founder, Dmytro Yarosh, who during the Russia-Ukraine war was Adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).
The French channel referred to an old United Nations report documenting systematic torture in Donbas, but it neglected to mention either the Azov Battalion's special prisons uncovered by the Russian army, or statements issued by the UN in this regard. France-2 also failed to explain the weight of the Banderites in Ukrainian nationalist history, reducing the prominence of the neo-Nazis to brandishing the swastika. France-2 reported the threat to be between 3,000 and 5,000 men, while Reuters reported the paramilitary Banderites number to be 102,000 men, split into several militias incorporated within the Territorial Defense.
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- Vaksberg, A. (1997). Stalin Against the Jews. (n.p.): Random House Value Publishing.
- Anti-jewish Policy Of The Ussr In The Last Decade Of Stalin's Rule And Its Impact On The East European Countries With Special Reference To Poland. Bozena Szaynok. Vol. 29, No. 2/4, THE SOVIET GLOBAL IMPACT: 1945-1991 (SUMMER-FALL-WINTER 2002 / ÉTÉ-AUTOMNE-HIVER 2002), pp. 301-315 (15 pages)
- Azov Media YouTube Channel. Archived.
- Shooting, Neo-Nazis and Ukraine – Dangerous Liaisons, by Christelle Néant, March 19, 2019.