Although the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have rejected supplying instruction to members of Ukraine’s fascist militias on numerous occasions, a few images have surfaced casting doubt on this prospect. This begs the question, did Canada train Ukraine neo nazis?
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Members of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov regiment reportedly received combat training from Canada’s military, — in contrast to declared stance and despite prior denials of any formal connections between Ottawa and the controversial militia.
According to a report on Monday by Radio-Canada, the evident link was discovered in photographs uploaded on social media by the Ukrainian National Guard. Soldiers in the photos are wearing Azov Battalion patches on their uniforms whilst still training with Canadian forces.
“According to Oleksiy Kuzmenko, a journalist specializing in the Ukrainian far right, the presence of these patches strongly suggests that the Azov regiment had access to Canadian military training,” Radio-Canada said in its report. The patches display a crest that is “firmly and exclusively associated with the Azov regiment,” Kuzmenko told the media outlet.
Adrien Nonjon, a researcher at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations who studies Ukrainian nationalism, agreed. “I can assure you with absolute certainty that this is an Azov crest,” he said.
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Another photo from the same training session goes to show a Ukrainian soldier wearing a patch from the 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division, which Adolf Hitler’s regime established in 1943 to fight the Soviet Union’s Red Army alongside Ukrainian Nazi collaborators. Ukrainians held marches to honor its fighters as recently as last May.
Since the democratically appointed government of the former Soviet republic was toppled in 2014, Canada is said to have expended almost CAN$1 billion ($794 million) on training Ukrainian soldiers. Neo-Nazi combatants were crucial in the US-backed regime-change process, and the Azov Battalion was used to pacify subsequent discord.
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have rejected supplying instruction to members of Ukraine’s fascist militias on numerous occasions. Canada’s then-Defense Minister, Jason Kennedy, referred to the Azov fighters as a “small number of rotten apples” in 2015. However, after a report last year revealed that Azov-linked troops were boasting online about undergoing training from Canada as well as other NATO members, the CAF released a statement that said it would undertake a “thorough review” to determine whether its practices were adequate to prevent it from “unwittingly aiding those whose views it fundamentally opposes.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been among the most outspoken Western leaders in condemning Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine. He has called Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal and has rendered Canada one of the very first nations to prohibit the import of Russian energy products.
Amusingly, Trudeau was alleged of being a fascist himself after cracking down on the Freedom Convoy demonstrations against Covid-19 vaccine regulations previously this year. Billionaire Elon Musk and others compared Trudeau to Hitler, and the hashtag #BlackFaceHitler trended on Twitter in Canada for several days in February. The hashtag referred to a 2019 controversy in which old images of Trudeau choosing to wear blackface makeup at various events emerged.