Photos of meeting in Kyiv last year – which UK personnel thought was private – were posted by Ukraine’s National Guard (NGU)
UK MoD tells Declassified it has no plans to train NGU and that British commander was misquoted
But UK military is engaging with NGU and aware of “the peculiarities of [its] combat operations”
Apparent member of another far-right Ukrainian group was trained at Sandhurst in 2020
Details and photos of the meeting in the capital, Kyiv, were posted in Ukrainian on the website of Ukraine’s National Guard (NGU) last year.
Declassified understands the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) believed the September 2021 meeting to be private and should not have been publicised. There is no mention of the meeting in any UK records that are publicly available.
Three British commanders of Operation Orbital – the UK military’s training mission in Ukraine – are pictured, alongside three NGU officers. They sit around a table taking notes.
The British government is spending tens of millions on media projects in Eastern Europe which are often presented as fighting “Russian disinformation”, but which may involve the UK’s own information operations.
The British government ploughed at least £82.7m of public money into media projects in countries bordering or near Russia in the four years to 2021.
The projects, which take place across 20 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, are run through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), a cross-government pot of money with the stated aim of preventing “instability and conflicts that threaten UK interests”.
Published 10th September 2014
“I have nothing against Russian nationalists, or a great Russia,” said Dmitry, as we sped through the dark Mariupol night in a pickup truck, a machine gunner positioned in the back. “But Putin’s not even a Russian. Putin’s a Jew.”
Dmitry – which he said is not his real name – is a native of east Ukraine and a member of the Azov battalion, a volunteer grouping that has been doing much of the frontline fighting in Ukraine’s war with pro-Russia separatists. The Azov, one of many volunteer brigades to fight alongside the Ukrainian army in the east of the country, has developed a reputation for fearlessness in battle.
But there is an increasing worry that while the Azov and other volunteer battalions might be Ukraine’s most potent and reliable force on the battlefield against the separatists, they also pose the most serious threat to the Ukrainian government, and perhaps even the state, when the conflict in the east is over. The Azov causes particular concern due to the far right, even neo-Nazi, leanings of many of its members.