Major British media outlets are providing one-sided coverage of the Ukrainian conflict and are making efforts to exonerate neo-Nazis in the country, Steve Sweeney, an international editor at British newspaper the Morning Star, told RT.
Sweeney, who recently returned from the Ukrainian city of Lvov near the border with Poland, said he had to travel there himself because “the British media reporting [on Ukraine] is now incredibly restricted”.
“You have the Times, the Telegraph, the Guardian, the BBC, Sky News, Channel 4 all really producing identical reports from Kiev and Lvov that don’t deviate at all from the government line, from the NATO line on what’s happening” in Ukraine’s conflict with Russia, he said.
“A great effort is being made to really whitewash or rehabilitate the Azov [military battalion] as either having no influence in Ukraine or being just simply misunderstood nationalists,” the journalist pointed out.
The Azov battalion is an infamous nationalist unit in the ranks of the Ukrainian military. Its members have fought the Russian forces in the strategic port city of Mariupol since the start of Moscow’s military operation. Many of them were killed, while the rest, including the commanders, laid down their arms earlier in May after being holed up at the Azovstal steel plant for weeks. Footage of the surrendering fighters reveals many of them sporting tattoos of Swastikas and other Nazi symbols.
Sweeney went as far as to describe the BBC’s reporting on the Azov battalion as “a masterclass in fascism denial.”
The Morning Star editor described what he saw in Lvov, saying “the city itself was essentially full of fascists and mercenaries, and people in military fatigues that are using civilian transport networks to enter Ukraine” from Poland.
The foreigners in military gear, who say they come to Ukraine “to kill the Russians,” are welcomed with open arms; they’re rolled the red carpet out and they’re slapped on the back and treated as heroes,” he said.
He also said, however that as a journalist, he was treated in a completely different fashion by the Ukrainian authorities.
“What happened to me was I was quizzed about my business in Ukraine; told that I was a spy; told that I would be arrested and tortured; and the indication was possibly worse than that, which means they would’ve potentially killed me,” Sweeney recalled.
According to an opinion editorial published in BLiTZ, following America’s humiliating retreat from Afghanistan, leaving the country at mercy of the Taliban as well as handing-over military assets worth US$84 billion into possession of this jihadist outfit, America is repeating its blunder in Ukraine. This time they have joined hands with Azov Battalion and other neo-Nazi fascist groups, and unfortunately, once again, the United States and the Western world are seeing Azov and other neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine as their key allies against Washington’s war against Moscow.
One of the gravest concerns centering Ukraine war is gaining the strength of the Azov Battalion. This time, Azov members are enjoying the privilege of getting access to sophisticated weapons and explosives, alongside drones, missiles, and other military hardware. It is understandable that Azov members will not just use the military hardware in their battle against Russia. A significant portion of these supplies will go to hidden places and be stockpiled for future requirements of this neo-Nazi fascist regiment as It will begin its second phase of the battle of establishing influence and bringing Ukraine under their direct control. In other words, as Afghanistan has slipped into the grips of the Taliban, Ukraine too eventually will slip into the grips of Azov Battalion members as well as other neo-Nazi and fascist groups. Ukraine is destined to become tomorrow’s Naziland.
According to counterterrorism experts, fighters of the Azov Battalion resemble other para-military units – and there are dozens of them – that have helped in fighting against the Russian military over the past six years. But Azov is much more than a militia. It has its own political party; two publishing houses; summer camps for children; and a vigilante force known as the National Militia, which patrols the streets of Ukrainian cities alongside the police. Unlike its ideological peers in the US and Europe, it also has a military wing with at least two training bases and a vast arsenal of weapons, from drones and armored vehicles to artillery pieces.
Outside Ukraine, Azov occupies a central role in a network of extremist groups stretching from California across Europe to New Zealand, according to law enforcement officials on three continents. And it acts as a magnet for young men eager for combat experience. Ali Soufan, a security consultant and former FBI agent who has studied Azov, estimates that more than 17,000 foreign fighters have come to Ukraine over the past six years from 50 countries. As Soufan looked into the recruitment methods of Ukraine’s more radical militias, he found an alarming pattern. It reminded him of Afghanistan in the 1990s, after Soviet forces withdrew and the US failed to fill the security vacuum. “Pretty soon the extremists took over. The Taliban was in charge. And we did not wake up until 9/11”, Soufan told TIME magazine. “This is the parallel now with Ukraine”, he added.
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