— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) March 31, 2015
Though sending US troops into Ukraine was already controversial, a report by the Associated Press shows a bad situation is getting worse. According to the AP the US forces being sent into Ukraine will be training Neo-Nazi militants who have already been accused of war crimes.
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has publicly stated that among those forces receiving US training in April will be the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion. The Azov Battalion uses Nazi symbols and openly declares its belief in white supremacy and antisemitism. Many members trace their family’s lineage to fighting with the Nazis against the Soviet Union during World War II.
The neo-Nazis will be trained by US forces to more effectively kill people in East Ukraine.
The United States plans to send soldiers to Ukraine in April for training exercises with units of the country’s national guard. Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said in a Facebook post on Sunday that the units to be trained include the Azov Battalion, a volunteer force that has attracted criticism for its far-right sentiments including brandishing an emblem widely used in Nazi Germany.
Avakov said the training will begin April 20 at a base in western Ukraine near the Polish border and would involve about 290 American paratroopers and some 900 Ukrainian guardsmen.
Not only does the Azov Battalion hold antidemocratic fascist views its activities in the field have been condemned by Amnesty International as “ISIS style war crimes.” Part of the Azov Battalion’s methods include decapitating captured prisoners and parading their severed heads around to inspire terror.
The US policy in Ukraine has been a nightmare from the beginning. First supporting a violent overthrow of a democratic government and now supporting and training neo-Nazi militants who have committed war crimes. What kind of Ukraine is the US trying to foster?