Neo-Nazis and white supremacists of America, Canada, Europe and Australia are among foreign volunteers joining Ukrainian paramilitary groups to fight against Russian forces.
Ukrainian authorities and paramilitary groups have asked foreign fighters to travel to Ukraine to fight Russian forces. While the government has encouraged foreign volunteers to fight in the International Territorial Defense Legion – a new unit that has received “thousands” of applications from abroad – paramilitary groups have issued their own announcements for their units. Among those who responded were white supremacists and neo-Nazis from the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.
Calls for foreign volunteers to fight alongside Ukrainian government forces have spread on Telegram, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms. On Telegram, a white supremacist channel posted a summary of the active groups fighting against Russia in Ukraine. The post said: “So far we have seen on the voluntary side of Ukraine: Average non-ideological/patriotic groups, National Socialists and fascists of all kinds, gangsters and OUN-like groups, religious traditionalists, Chechen separatists, Georgian nationalists, anti – Fascist Football Ultras, anarchist militia, Belarusian diaspora, American SOF veterans.
The ultranationalist Telegram channel issued a recruitment call for “foreign volunteers” on February 27, 2022 to “Make Russians die again.” The post asks people with military experience to join the Ukrainian International Legion of Territorial Defense and provides contact information for some of those recruiting foreign fighters.
A Facebook post on February 22, from a multinational force spanning Georgia, Europe and America, shows an American member conducting an interview in front of a Georgian flag.
The paramilitary group’s calls for foreign volunteers came mostly from ultranationalist and neo-Nazi brigades. Such a neo-Nazi unit was created as a voluntary paramilitary force in May 2014 following the advance of Russia-backed separatists in the eastern region of Ukraine, historically known as the Donbas. Initially, foreign fighters were allowed to enlist in the unit, but restrictions on foreign recruitment were implemented in March 2018, which eventually led to an effective ban on foreign fighters at the end of 2020. But amid the construction of the Russian army along the border. between Belarus and Ukraine and the border between Russia and Ukraine, the unit announced that it would open recruitment for foreign fighters with military experience. Other ultranationalist groups have reposted recruitment calls from the unit, while other ultranationalist and neo-Nazi paramilitary groups have solicited foreign donations. One such entity requested donations in a post on February 22, 2022, in which it provided information for people to donate via PayPal, SWIFT, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tron.
Globally, neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups have also asked their supporters to volunteer with Ukrainian paramilitary units, as US neo-Nazis did in their Jan. 19 post.
Another example is a video posted on France’s neo-Nazi Telegram channel on February 26, in which a neo-Nazi paramilitary commander in Ukraine asks people to voluntarily fight against Russia. The post said: “‘For the third day in a row, Ukraine has repelled the offensive of the world’s second largest army, which is still claiming to take Mariupol… [Vi] organized resistance across the country, especially in Kyiv where the population was preparing to fight heroically. The invaders were not able to take a strategic position. And we will do everything to ensure that this never happens. Ukraine will win! Everyone who wants to defend Kyiv is welcomed in the volunteer team at the address: Prospekt Peremogi, ATEK factory. Honor to Ukraine! ‘”
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MEMRI wrote of himself that “they assist US authorities in the fight against terrorism”. They also monitored the activities of the Nazi group in Russia and other countries.
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