Written by Vladimir Kornilov; Originally appeared at RIA, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront
It took five and half years for US congressmen to “see through” the true goals and objectives of the Ukrainian right-wing unit “Azov”. Unexpectedly for many, 40 representatives of Congress signed a petition to the US State Department demanding to include this battalion (at least, in the document it is called a battalion) in the official list of foreign terrorist organisations.
This appeal has caused shock in the Ukraine and backlash from many officials. And the Ukrainian social network users have already blamed Moscow for everything, it turns out that “40 Russian agents” are entrenched in the US Congress.
What happened? What caused such an amazing decision from the US politicians, so many years not noticing the war crimes of “Azov” in the Donbas?
The fact is that the activity of the Ukrainian “heroes of the ATO” and their supporters moved to American soil.
This is clearly indicated by the congressmen’s message, drafted by the young politician Max Rose. It openly says that they are concerned about the fact that “Azov” and similar structures in the Ukraine recruit and train American right-wing radicals, who are already using their combat skills in the United States.
Now in the States, two proceedings connected with crimes of the American participants of the Ukrainian ATO or their supporters are quite actively discussed. The most high profile is the murder of a married couple in Florida in April 2018. Two American citizens, who in 2016-2017 took part in fights in Donbas on the “Right Sector” side, are accused. The immediate killer was arrested after a hot pursuit, and his accomplice managed to escape back to the Ukraine, where the issue of his extradition to the United States is now being considered. Moreover, the Ukrainian media raised a noisy campaign in support of the militant – they say, he may face the death penalty in America, so the “hero of the ATO” cannot be extradited. Nobody there even asks the question: if this American is involved in the murder of peaceful civilians in Florida, how many such murders he could carry out in Donbas?
Studying the links of this militant helped American law enforcement to prevent other high profile crimes in the United States. A month ago, the FBI in Kansas arrested one of its serviceman, who maintained a correspondence with the said “hero of ATO” and discussed plans to kill anti-fascists and politicians, the explosion of the office of the agency CNN and other terrorist attacks. Among other things, he admitted that he planned to go to the Ukraine and join the ranks of the “Azov” battalion. And it is worth noting that the US Department of Justice commenting on this case, directly called “Azov” a “violent right wing” organisation.
That’s why they are worried in America. Not so long ago, Congress heard an extensive report by former FBI agent Ali Safwan, who studied right-wing movements around the world and the links between them. Particular attention is paid in the report on “Azov”, whose foreign cells, according to the authors, began to play for neo-Nazis around the world the same role played for the jihadists of the planet the “aktab-al-hidamat” organisation, engaged in recruiting international fighters for “al-Qaida”. “As with jihadist groups, the goal of many of these people is to return to their countries of origin (or third countries) to disrupt and create acts of violence, and to recruit new members for their purposes”, the report states.
In fact, this passage worried the most the American congressmen. Max Rose in his petition allows a blatant inaccuracy, mentioning the Australian terrorist Brenton Tarrant, who in March of this year, staged a massacre in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. The congressman proves that Tarrant in his “Manifesto” declared his involvement in “Azov”. In fact, the mass murderer only indicated that he was in the Ukraine, without specifying where and with whom. It is possible that he also graduated from the ATO school, even talked with Ukrainian neo-Nazis. In any case, the Ukraine has become, perhaps the only country in the world where this “Manifesto” was published in the form of a brochure and advertised. Not only that, the Ukrainian right-wing radicals called Tarrant their “twin”, hinting that they had links with him.
But we will emphasise: direct connections of the Australian terrorist with “Azov” are not revealed yet. Probably because in the Ukraine nobody even started an investigation of his local contacts. If law enforcement officers of other countries, after the terrorist attack in Christchurch, conduct a thorough analysis of Tarrant’s movements, frankly the Kiev authorities are not particularly concerned about it. That also raises some questions, it is known after all, who in the Ukrainian power structures covers “Azov’s” activities and publicly protects it.
The congressmen’s letter explicitly points to the fact that among the symbols Tarrant used in the attack was the same neo-Nazi symbol that shows off on the official standard of the Azov unit. Probably, it is not necessary to remind that this standard is officially approved by the National Guard of the Ukraine, against the background of this symbolism the President of the Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky already spoke about. This fact the American congressmen do not mention yet, demanding to punish only “Azov”, but not those who created it, financed and covered it at the official level.
However, they should understand, finally, that the terrorists created and supported by Washington (either Islamists or Nazis) will surely come to the American soil, sooner or later. And that it is necessary to fight against these phenomena together and everywhere, regardless of where in the world they arise and against whom they are fighting at this particular stage.