Ukraine’s Azov Battalion swaps neo-Nazi insignia – media

The Times reports that The Times has learned that The Nationalist Unit, a notorious unit of nationalists, stopped using the Wolfsangel symbol.

The Times reports that Ukraine has taken the Nazi-linked Wolfsangel symbol out of Azov’s nationalist regiment.

According to the British paper, the unit’s new recruits in the city of Kharkov were sporting patches with a golden trident, which is Ukraine’s national emblem, thereby replacing the Wolfsangel or ‘wolf’s hook’ which had been used by the Azov Battalion since its formation eight years ago.

Maksim Zhorin (commander of the unit), however, stated that the paper was not formed. “on the same principles and ideological basis as the legendary Azov regiment.”

Wolfsangel, a historical heraldic symbol chosen by Nazis in World War II, appears on several SS Divisions’ insignia.

According to the Times, the Wolfsangel was visible on the Azov fighters’ uniforms. “helped perpetuate Russian propaganda about Ukraine being in the grip of far-right nationalism.”

But, prior to the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, concerns were raised in Western media outlets, such as Time magazine or the New York Times, about the use by the Ukrainian unit of Nazi symbolism.

Azov Batalion, a unit of volunteers formed in 2014 and was mostly made up far-right activists eager to take on the rebels living in Donbass. Several months later, it was officially incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard by order of then president Petro Poroshenko. 

When the Russian offensive started, the Azov Battalion, which had received Western training, was considered one of the most capable formations under Kiev’s command.

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A patch with the emblem of the Azov nationalist battalion is seen on one of the streets of Mariupol. © Sputnik / Mihail Andronik
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Nationalist fighters had been assigned the mission of protecting Mariupol (a strategically important port on the Sea of Azov), but they failed to accomplish this task. They were all killed while many others, including commanders, gave up on their mission to protect Mariupol, a strategic port on the Sea of Azov. 

Moscow accused the Azov group of holding civilians captive in the plant, and then using them as human shields during the siege.

Many of those who surrendered to the Nazis were captured on video, with many sporting tattoos depicting swastikas or other extreme-right symbols. Russia also captured literature and Nazi-related materials at the Donbass steel plant.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case against the unit’s fighters over abductions, torture, and the use of prohibited means and methods of warfare, among other things.

In late June, the Russian High Court will rule in the case calling for the Azov Battlion to be declared a terrorist organisation and to outlaw them.

It “denazification” of Ukraine has been highlighted as one of the goals of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

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Ukrainian fighter surrendering to Russian forces at Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. © Sputnik / Russia’s Defense Ministry
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Russia attacked the neighboring country in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Minsk Protocol (German- and French-brokered) was created to grant the separatist regions special status within Ukraine.

In recent years, the Kremlin demands that Ukraine declares itself neutral in order to be able to join NATO. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims that it planned to seize the two republics.



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