Far-right battalion gains access to US weapons

The war in Ukraine

Published 12 June 2024
- By Editorial Staff
According to the US State Department, there is “no evidence” that Azov has committed crimes against humanity.

The US State Department has announced that it will now allow US arms shipments to Ukraine’s far-right Azov Battalion, after previously halting all arms shipments, citing Azov’s links to war crimes, “neo-Nazism” and “hateful ideology”.

“After thorough review, Ukraine’s 12th Special Forces Azov Brigade passed Leahy vetting as carried out by the US Department of State“, department officials said in a statement to the Washington Post on Monday, citing legislation that prohibits military assistance to units involved in human rights abuses.

The State Department added that it had found “no evidence” that the battalion had committed crimes against humanity, and Ukrainian lobbyists have called lifting the ban “a top priority”.

The Azov battalion was established in 2014 and later incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard. In 2018, the US Congress banned all arms shipments to Azov, citing its links to “neo-Nazi ideology” and war crimes.

The Azov Battalion has been accused of various war crimes and torture, including the rape and torture of a mentally disabled man and the kidnapping of another man who was subjected to sadistic sexual torture while held in a basement. In addition, the German tabloid Bild was able to confirm how members of the Azov Battalion tortured Russian prisoners of war – including shooting them in the legs and then leaving them to bleed to death.

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