by Todorovski Darko, Master of International Relations and Military Analyst
Judging by the latest statements coming from European politicians, Ukraine has fewer allies in Europe. Everyone is fed up with theft, corruption, and the absence of any successful economic reforms.
Moreover, Kiev itself keeps provoking its neighbors. The impression is that Washington’s position is the only thing that prevents so many politicians from putting paid to the incompetent President Zelensky and leaving Ukraine to its own destiny. However, it looks like in their attempts to be chummy with the local ultra-right, Ukraine’s political elites may squabble even with their American friends. All this is because of the US “volunteers” of the war in Donbass, who turned out to be criminals and racists.
The conflict between pro-Russian separatists and government forces, going on since 2014, has been smoldering over the past few years with the sides occasionally trading gunfire along the line of separation in Donbass. The very first year of the conflict proved very difficult for both sides. The separatists had to vacate some of the occupied territories, but the Ukrainian army suffered two crushing defeats at Debaltseve and Ilovaisk. As a result, the all-out war was eventually stopped by the practically non-working Minsk agreements.
One of the first Ukrainian fighters in the very unpopular war in Ukraine was the ultra-right, who formed a volunteer battalion, later the Azov regiment that neo-Nazis from all across Europe flocked to. There were Croatian Ustashis, Italian fascists and representatives of other nations, including extreme right-wingers from the United States.
At first glance, one would be hard put to understand the principle according to which the proponents of the superiority theories chose the side to fight for. Russians do not differ much from Ukrainians, which is evident from the perfectly Russian endings of the names of many Azov fighters. The answer is simple though – even before the conflict broke out, Ukrainian neo-Nazis, weaned on lionizing Hitler’s Ukrainian supporters, maintained close ties with their equally marginalized brethren from far and wide.
As for the Donbass separatists, they maintained discipline and came from the local population, which made service in their ranks way less attractive to lovers of looting and violence. Unlike in the Azov regiment where everything was possible! For example, Craig Lang, a native of South Carolina, liked to drown defenseless women together with his partner, the Austrian neo-Nazi Benjamin Fischer.
The latter, by the way, gave them adrenaline injections to make sure they would not black out prematurely. However, this was just one in the long list of “entertainment” the “Western volunteers” engaged in, given that in Donbass any local resident could be accused of “aiding the separatists” and tortured with impunity.
Back home in the States, Mr. Lang did not feel so comfortable though. In fact, his move to Ukraine was consistent with his views and their implementation – the USneo-Nazi was accused of double murder. It soon became clear that there were others like him too, and so the FBI sounded the alarm. The right-wingers from the “Rise Above Movement,” who hone their skills on humans are a real threat to America! However, the FBI’s main priority was, of course, the investigation of Lang’s crimes committed on US soil, so the Department of Justice demanded his extradition.
Pertinent UN agencies got involved too. Numerous investigations by the OSCE, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other organizations about war crimes in Donbas have become impossible to ignore. Fortunately, Europeis becoming more humane and fearful of the ultra-right. For example, in November 2020, the Special Court for Kosovo arrested the “father” of Kosovo independence, HashimThaçi, and charged him with war crimes.
And this is despite the Kosovo rebels’ long-standing ties with the US Democrats. European human rights activists set their sights also on Ukraine and on May 20, 2021, after lengthy discussions and bending under Western pressure, the Ukrainian parliament adopted Bill No. 2689 “on war crimes in the area of hostilities and in the occupied territories of Ukraine.” At the same time, a number of politicians accused the bill’s authors of unwillingness to “protect” Ukraine’s “defenders” and of future persecutions on “orders from Moscow.” However, this law does not fully comply yet with the criminal law of Ukraine, and the ultra-right do not give up their own.
So, whether Craig Lang and others like him will be handed over to the merciless US justice or will be allowed to enjoy impunity in the “Anti-Terrorist Operation” zone in Donbass is a big question. Apparently, President Zelensky should be asked just who he fears the most – the US Department of Justice or his own Far Right?