This one actually caught the attention of a US media outlet:
Ukraine’s Anti-Russia Azov Battalion: ‘Minutemen’ or Neo-Nazi Terrorists?
KYIV, Ukraine—When Deputy Secretary of State George Kent spoke at the U.S. House of Representatives impeachment hearings this week, he painted a powerful picture of Ukrainian bravery in the face of Russian aggression.
In 2014, when “Russia invaded Ukraine” and occupied 7 percent of its territory, Ukraine’s state institutions were “on the verge of collapse,” he said. But “Ukrainian civil society answered the challenge. They formed volunteer battalions of citizens, including technology professionals and medics. They crowd-sourced funding for their own weapons, body armor, and supplies. They were the 21st-century Ukrainian equivalent of our own Minutemen in 1776, buying time for the regular army to reconstitute.”
But Kent most likely did not have in mind the most famous—and infamous—of those volunteer units, the Azov Battalion, which 40 members of Congress have asked the State Department to designate as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Some of its members are neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and avowed anti-Semites.
Are the Azov fighters, in fact, “Minutemen” or monsters, freedom fighters or terrorists? Or in some cases both?
Angry demonstrations here about those congressional efforts to get Azov declared an “FTO” suggest just how complicated and treacherous the political and military landscape has become in this nation fighting for survival. It is another factor—along with the extortionate, allegedly impeachable games played by the Trump administration—weakening the position of President Volodymyr Zelnsky as he struggles to achieve an equitable peace with Vladimir Putin.
The congressional letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and pushed by freshman Rep. Max Rose (D-NY), portrays Azov as part of an ultra-right-wing “global terrorist network” analogous to al Qaeda or the so-called Islamic State, but one bent on attacking Muslims, Jews, and people of color. The letter notes that the man who carried out the mosque massacres in New Zealand last March, killing at least 50 worshippers, claimed he trained with the Azov. His livestreamed slaughter then inspired murderers in the United States who targeted a synagogue in Poway, California, and Hispanic shoppers in El Paso, Texas.
The Oct. 16 letter quoted a tweet a week before by Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence and a Daily Beast contributor, after the synagogue attack in Halle, Germany, on Oct. 9. Katz noted “the similarity between this video” in Halle and the New Zealand attacker’s, concluding it was “another installment from a global terrorist network, linked together via online safe havens much like ISIS.” Symbolically, at least, Azov has become a rallying point for the neo-Nazi international community.
The State Department response to the letter was non-committal, denying that its failure to designate various foreign groups as terrorist organizations had anything to do with “ideology or motives.”
It should noted here that congressman Rose is an combat veteran who served in Afghanistan and he still serves in the US National Guard. So he does understand the realities of combat.
Edited by Dark_Falcon, 18 November 2019 - 2207 PM.