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.
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.
Published 17 April 2019
Ukraine’s Azov movement is hostile to Russia, friendly to neo-Nazis, and inspired by France’s new right. It’s not running in Ukraine’s presidential elections because it plans to win power by playing a long game.
ive years ago, Ukraine’s Maidan uprising ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, to the cheers and support of the West. Politicians and analysts in the United States and Europe not only celebrated the uprising as a triumph of democracy, but denied reports of Maidan’s ultranationalism, smearing those who warned about the dark side of the uprising as Moscow puppets and useful idiots. Freedom was on the march in Ukraine.
Today, increasing reports of far-right violence, ultranationalism, and erosion of basic freedoms are giving the lie to the West’s initial euphoria. There are neo-Nazi pogroms against the Roma, rampant attacks on feminists and LGBT groups, book bans, and state-sponsored glorification of Nazi collaborators.
These stories of Ukraine’s dark nationalism aren’t coming out of Moscow; they’re being filed by Western media, including US-funded Radio Free Europe (RFE); Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and watchdogs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House, which issued a joint report warning that Kiev is losing the monopoly on the use of force in the country as far-right gangs operate with impunity.