Ukrainian Terror Came to American Soil

It took American congressmen five and a half years to regain their vision in relation to the true goals and objectives of the Ukrainian right-wing radical unit “Azov“. Unexpectedly for many, 40 representatives of Congress signed a petition to the US Department of State demanding that this battalion (in any case, it is called a battalion in the document) be included on the official list of foreign terrorist organisations.

This appeal caused shock in Ukraine and a response from many officials. And Ukrainian users of social networks have already managed to blame Moscow for everything – it turns out that “40 Russian agents” are entrenched in the US Congress.

What happened? What is the cause of such an amazing decision of American politicians, who have not noticed the war crimes of “Azov” in Donbass for so many years?

The whole affair is that the activity of Ukrainian “heroes of the ATO” and their supporters is spreading to American soil.

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This is directly pointed out in the statement of Congressmen compiled by the young politician Max Rose. It openly says that they care about the fact that “Azov” and similar structures in Ukraine recruit and train American right-wing radicals who already apply their combat skills in the United States itself.

Two processes related to the crimes of American participants of the Ukrainian ATO or their supporters are being discussed quite actively in the US. The most high-profile is the murder of a married couple in Florida in April 2018. Two American citizens are accused who in 2016-2017 took part in the fighting in Donbass on the side of “Right Sector“. The immediate killer was arrested on the spot, but his accomplice managed to escape back to Ukraine, where his extradition to the United States is now under consideration. And the Ukrainian media raised a noisy campaign in support of the militant – they say that he may face the death penalty in America, so the “hero of ATO” cannot be extradited. No one there even wonders: if this American is involved in killing civilians in Florida, how many such murders could he have committed in Donbass?

Examining the ties of this gunman helped US law enforcement prevent other high-profile crimes in the United States. A month ago, the FBI arrested in Kansas its soldier who maintained correspondence with the “ATO hero” and discussed plans to kill anti-fascists and politicians, blow up CNN’s office, and other terrorist attacks. Among other things, he admitted that he planned to come to Ukraine and join the ranks of the same “Azov” battalion. And it should be noted that the US Department of Justice, commenting on this case, explicitly called “Azov” a “violent right-wing radical” organisation.

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That’s why America was worried. Not long ago, Congress heard an extensive report from former FBI agent Ali Soufan examining right-wing radical movements around the world and the links between them. The report focuses on “Azov”, whose overseas cells, according to the authors, began to play a role for neo-Nazis around the world similar to that of jihadists from the global organisation Maktab al-Khidamat, which recruited international fighters for al-Qaeda. “And just like the path of jihadist groups, the goal of many of these members is to return to their countries of origin (or third-party countries) to wreak havoc and use acts of violence as a means of recruiting new members to their cause,” the report said.

In fact, this passage worried American congressmen the most. Max Rose, in the petition he drafted, allows for outright inaccuracy, mentioning the Australian terrorist Brenton Tarrant, who in March of this year carried out a massacre in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. The congressman proves that Tarrant in his “manifesto” declared his involvement with “Azov”. In fact, the mass killer only indicated that he was in Ukraine, without specifying where and with whom. It is possible that he also passed through ATO school and communicated with Ukrainian neo-Nazis. In any case, Ukraine has become perhaps the only country in the world where this “manifesto” has been published in the form of a brochure and advertised. Not only that: Ukrainian right-wing radicals called Tarrant their “twin”, hinting that they had ties to him.

But let’s emphasise: no direct links between the Australian terrorist and “Azov” have yet been found. Probably because in Ukraine no one even started an investigation into his contacts there. While in other countries, after the Christchurch attack, law enforcement conducted a thorough analysis of all Tarrant’s movements, the Kiev authorities were not particularly concerned about it, which also raises some questions – after all, it is known who in Ukrainian power structures covers the activities of “Azov” and publicly protects it.

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The letter of the Congressmen also explicitly points to the fact that among the symbols that Tarrant used in the attack there was the same neo-Nazi symbol that is painted on the official headquarters of the “Azov” unit. Probably, it is not necessary to remind that this standard is officially approved by the National Guard of Ukraine, the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky already spoke whilst being stood in front of this symbol. This fact is not mentioned by the American Congressmen, who demand to punish only “Azov”, and not those who created, finance, and protect it at the official level.

However, they should finally understand that Washington-born and Washington-backed terrorists (whether it be Islamists or Nazis) will surely come to American soil – sooner or later. And that it is necessary to fight these phenomena together and everywhere, regardless of where they arise and against whom they fight at this particular stage.

Vladimir Kornilov

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