A Graham Newsletter (#25) East of Ukraine Nostalgia, Crimea, Latvia, DPR Tourism

It’s been both a week of intense activity in Donbass – from the first coal, and not only, trading with Russia, new DPR-designed roadheaders (I’ve been covering that all on my Twitter), and, sadly, continued Ukrainian shelling (see Patrick Lancaster, on the scene, for full coverage of that).

Also, I can say it’s been a week of some nostalgia for myself, as this week, 3 years ago, I’d set off from Odessa to see the situation in the east of Ukraine, as it was then, for myself. Driving, sleeping in the car for a few hours many nights to save time, covering as much ground as possible and, for my own embryonic YouTube channel as it was, filming reportage of things, just as they were! This week I did a few pull-togethers of reportage, here on the Truth Speaker, of things as they were –

Click here for full reportage, Donetsk, March 12th, 2014, here’s a couple: 

From Kharkov, March 14th: 

And, of course, Crimea, March 16th:

Of course, looking back to Latvia, from 2016, it’s a difference form of ‘nostalgia’ – I’d gone to spend a month reporting from Latvia, yet on the 3rd day, the authorities objected to my coverage of the march there honouring Nazism, deported me, banned for 3 years.

Here is my reportage from that day, March 16th, 2016 – 

They then pursued me with various letters describing my ‘misdemenours’ (in Latvian, so I really had no idea what they were saying), culminating in an 8-page document, which, after listing all my supposed wrong-doings (I asked people at a march honouring Nazism why they were doing that), then said they wanted 150 Euros from me!

Things all got a bit surreal on March 16th itself, when Ukrainian media, and not only, wrote the story of my being detained, and deported, at the Waffen SS veteran march, as if it had been March 16th, 2017 rather than 2016!  Groundhog Day…

This led to my receiving a lot of worried messages, and my own wondering if this was Latvia’s latest attempt for 150 Euros from me!

As it was, I was far away from Latvia. And indeed, being a tourist – in London, no less, and here I present you with my latest reportage from there, as a ‘DPR tourist’, no less, featuring a couple of special guests!

 There’s a bit more to come from the UK, not only London, and then, I’ll be on the road back to Donbass, via some interesting places en route!

Once more, a massive thanks to all of you who support my work, and make all kinds of reportage possible, in all kinds of places! The main thing is, it’s always independent, objective, and completely crowdfunded! To be a part, click here –

https://www.paypal.me/grahamwphillips

Of course, your support also goes towards here, the Truth Speaker, and the many articles, providing information, debunking fakes, as here –

‘Russian Tanks in Ukraine’: Tony Blair’s ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ for our times

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/03/14/russian-tanks-in-ukraine-tony-blairs-weapons-of-mass-destruction-for-our-times/

And don’t worry, none of your support goes towards propping up the Latvian economy 😉

Look out for lots more to come soon! Best for now!

Slavyansk – Donbass – 2 Years after Ukrainian Forces Took It Back

Graham Phillips

Ukraine’s president Poroshenko is in Donbass just now, 2 years after Ukrainian forces recaptured Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, and further territory in the area. It’s, thus far, business as usual for the man now more than 2 years Ukraine’s president despite approval ratings actually lower than his predecessor at the time of the Euromaidan overthrow – around 17%.

So, we have Poroshenko decked out in camouflage, making a series of
Poroshenko SlavyanskStrangelove-esque statements, giving out medals, posing for flinty photos in forementioned fatigues, making an announcement on changing the insignia on Ukrainian military uniforms to honour Ukraine’s Insurgent Army, who fought with the Nazis in WWII.

Business as usual then, the standard greetings, congratulations on ‘liberation’, further plaudits to Ukrainians for standing up in ‘defence of freedom, democracy and territorial integrity’. Here it gets a bit tendentious, because what actually kicked off the situation in Slavyansk was Euromaidan in Kiev – a mob taking to the streets, backed on by a baying crowd pumped up by partisan media coverage, a western blind eye to any acts of violence perpetrated, and generous foreign funding. 

LuganskApril2014On April 12th, as had happened in Kiev – but the western media approved of it thereanti-Kiev activists took over administrative buildings in the city. At that time I was in Lugansk (pictured), having accepted a week’s work for RT (Russia Today). Why RT? My position in not supporting Euromaidan meant Russian media was the only door open to me, which allowed me to report things as I saw them. Now, having not worked with RT for almost 2 years, can say I neither watch nor even like the channel, but back then, they gave me the opportunity in Donbass.

So, I was there with them in Lugansk, when things started going off in Slavyansk, and I demanded to go there. Initially, to be honest, the producer at RT that day hadn’t even heard of Slavyansk, so was against it. But, I persisted, went, stayed there reporting for the next month-and-a-half until my capture on May 20th by Ukrainian forces at Mariupol, and deportation – although in the first instance, it must be said, Kiev made me deport myself telling me to ‘get on a plane tomorrow if you ever want to come back to Ukraine‘.

In my time in Slavyansk, I recall the vast majority of the population supporting the DPR, many local men joining the ‘people’s militia’ – it’s actually more natural to call them ‘opolchenie‘, the Russian word, as there’s no direct translation which captures that word. I’d love to show you videos of this, however due to the hunt for ‘separatists’ which took place after Ukraine retook the city, I had to remove most of my (hundreds of) videos. You can see one here, in which I’ve blurred the faces, a crowd of locals chanting for ‘referendum’ in the city centre, mid-April.

However, there’s no question that things got a bit messy, and there were a few who exploited the opportunity, in the chaos, to do as they will. The fallout between the ‘people’s mayor’ Vyacheslav Ponomarev and military commander, Igor Strelkov turned very ugly, and as the weeks passed it became clear to residents there would be no repeat of what had happened in Crimea a couple of months before (referendum, Russia immediately taking over).

Screenshot (46)The referendum held in Slavyansk, on May 11th 2014, saw western media sneering at a ‘farce’, focusing on a ridiculous, clearly Kiev-planted story of 100,000 pre-marked ballot papers ‘intercepted’, rather than paying attention to the mass turnout of people from the city, with queues of hundreds of metres, plenty of normal ballot papers to see.

And Ukrainian military actions had in any case begun in April, I saw the first body there on May 3rd, a man shot by Ukrainian soldiers after a dispute, was present at many locationshospitals, to confirm figures, and funerals. By the time I was deported, in later May, already up to 30 civilians had been killed as a result of Ukrainian military action. How many were killed overall, before Ukrainian forces took the city of some 115,000 back, in early July 2014? At least another 30, by any estimation – sources here, here, here, here – other than the forgiving official version, which puts the total figure killed at below 20. 

So when Poroshenko writes today, of Ukrainian forces taking the city with ‘minimal human losses‘ and ‘saving the lives of people‘, that’s clearly untrue. By the time the Ukrainians retook the city, their military campaign, against a vastly outnumbered opolchenie, had seen a place which once attracted tourists to its beaches, reduced to destitution, subsisting most of the time without water, power, extensively damaged by Ukrainian shelling.

Here’, a children’s hospital shelled – 30th May 2014 –

Orphanage – 1st June 2014 –

Smoke rising from city – 6th June 2014 –

Queue for water – 8th June –

Building goes up in flames after shelling hit – 8th June –

Wrecked apartment block – 12th June –

Many inbetween, but here 30th June, as in the days before they retook the city, Ukraine’s shelling campaign intensified –

Of course, Poroshenko today wrote about it, again, as a victory ‘against Russia’. Nonsense. There were volunteer fighters from Russia, it’s entirely possible there was some hardware which had come over the border, but most of the fighters were local men who had dug up weapons from Soviet times, hunting rifles. True opolchenie, most of the military vehicles captured Ukrainian army AFV’s and on. You can see some of both here, in this video of Victory Day, 2014 –

So, when the opolchenie retreated, and Ukrainian forces swept in in a carefully co-ordinated campaign on July 6th, which involved much filmed handing out of bread and vegetables, there was indeed a beleaguered turnout of townsfolk to meet them, some there for the handout, others genuinely happy that Ukraine had taken back control.

But did it reflect the will of most in Slavyansk? From my time there, I’d say that Strelkov Slavyanskcertainly wasn’t the case. In the beginning, a clear majority of people in the city supported the would-be breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic, of which Slavyansk was a part, perhaps 80-90%. As time went on, this went down, due to the conduct of Ponomarev, and Strelkov – the latter (pictured), having decided it was a war situation, meaning war regime, meaning shooting people for looting and other such acts. But, still, support for the DPR remained high, perhaps 60-70% when Ukraine took over.

Actually, this man here I interviewed in a surreal Slavyansk in later July 2014, with Ukraine’s takeover having quickly morphed into organised hunts for ‘separatists’, seeing disappearances, said that while he’d not supported the DPR – in fact everyone suddenly ‘hadn’t supported the DPR, had been out of town’ – around 70% had.

This woman I interviewed at the same time, mid-July 2014, was, pretty radically, pro-Ukrainian, and there always were some like her. However, it was a minority.

So, what’s Slavyansk like now? Well, a city divided, united by something – no one’s happy. Few jobs, little money, a city entirely re-branded to enforce Ukrainianism on everyone – Ukrainian flags and banners everywhere, organised pro-Ukrainian meetings, parades, pressure to speak the Ukrainian language (in a city which spoke almost entirely Russian before). I have friends there who keep me abreast, and more, even filmed a report from there recently –

How much DPR support is there now? Well, it’s hard to be sure exactly. Round-ups and repression have had an impact. Many had to leave town, others disappeared. Others, pro-Ukrainians, have been settled there from other areas of Ukraine. Yet many remain, pro-DPR, of course unable to express this (for the above video, many pro-DPR simply refused to speak). Relentless Ukrainian On 27 April 2016, (right) UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom visits with pupils of School #13 in Slovyansk, as part of a visit to conflict-hit eastern Ukraine. He was in the country to raise awareness of the global education crisis facing children in emergencies. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom visits School #13 in Slovyansk as part of a visit to conflict-hit eastern Ukraine to raise awareness of the global education crisis facing children in emergencies. School #13 was one of the first hit by shelling in the conflict that broke out more than 2 years ago. It is one of the 57 schools that UNICEF has helped to repair and refurbish in the region. UNICEF provided new school furniture, lego for classrooms, games and trained the school psychologist to help children cope with their experiences. Across the conflict area, approximately 580,000 children are in urgent need of aid and more than 230,000 children have been forced from their homes. Around one in five schools and kindergartens in the region have been damaged or destroyed and around 300,000 children are in immediate need of assistance to continue their education. The trip came as new findings show that nearly a quarter of the world's school-aged children - 462 million - now live in countries affected by crisis. The Education Cannot Wait Proposal, written by the Overseas Development Institute and commissioned by a range of partners including UNICEF, reveals that nearly than one in six – or 75 million – children from pre-primary to upper-secondary age (3-18) living in nations affected by crises is classed as being in desperate need of educational support. However, on average, only two per cent of global humanitarian appeals is dedicated to education. At the very first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in less than three weeks’ time, a groundbreaking new fund - Education Cannot Wait - will be launched to give access to learning to every child in need in emergencies. It aims to raispropaganda – and the Ukrainian media is so propagandistic a journalist called Anatoliy Shariy has made a career catching them out – has had its effect. Some changed sides, turned on neighbours, informed on neighbours.

There’s been limited repairing of damage caused by shelling. Occasional stage-managed operations such as the visit of Orlando Bloom (pictured above) barely paper over the cracks.

There’s an uncertainty about what comes next. When Poroshenko and the PR bandwagon rolled out today, they left a scarred city behind them, the pain of war still deeply rended in buildings and populace. The overwhelming appetite is, understandably, for there to be no war, and many who support the DPR are even willing to tolerate Ukrainian occupancy if it means no war. But, beyond the demagogic, tubthumping tweets of Poroshenko, 2 years on from the Ukrainian takeover, lies a city in a bleak state with few reasons to be cheerful.

The UK Gets Set to Welcome Ukrainian Neo-Nazi Andriy Parubiy

Graham Phillips

Back in 2009, far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders was initially banned from entering the UK, due to his views. That ban was rescinded on appeal, Wilders was admitted. But the principle, supposedly, that the UK doesn’t allow known, high Andriy Parubiy1profile exponents of far-right, ultra-national, politics which could be termed ‘fascist’ or ‘neo-Nazi’ to cross its borders.

Fast forward 6 years, and a man who makes Wilders look like a moderate is not only to be let into the UK, but warmly welcomed as a VIP guest by the UK government, coming for a series of meetings with government officials, think tanks and the Ukrainian community.

So, who exactly are they meeting? Well, Andriy Parubiy, 44, of the Lviv area of Fullscreen capture 20102015 005820.bmpUkraine, formed the Ukrainian National Socialist Party, its name drawn from Nazism, its tenents, its symbols drawn from Nazism. On October 23rd, he’s guest of honour at the prestigious Royal United Services Institute, that being the Professional Forum in the UK for those concerned with National and International Defence and Security. The talk’s to take place at Whitehall, just a couple of hundred metres away from 10 Downing Street itself.

So who really is the man feted as First Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council of Ukraine) and former Head of the National Security and Defense Council. Only holding the latter position for just over 5 months is actually the least of his problems. Channel 4 described him as

“Parubiy was the founder of the Social National Party of Ukraine, a fascist party styled on Hitler’s Nazis, with membership restricted to ethnic Ukrainians. The Social National Party would go on to become Svoboda, the far-right nationalist Andriy Parubiyparty.” 

Quite a difference to his glowing write-up on the RUSI site (a young Parubiy pictured at a meeting, right) –

Andriy Parubiy is First Deputy Speaker, Parliament of Ukraine. He is a former Member of Parliament (VIII convocation), Narodnyy Front faction and Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (2014) and during 2013-2014 was Head of the Maidan Self-Defense Forces. Between 2012-2014 he was a Member of Parliament (VII convocation), Batkivshchyna faction and a Member of the Science and Education Committee of the Verkhovna Rada. From 2007-2012, he was Member of Parliament (VI convocation), Nasha Ukraina faction and a Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Verkhovna Rada. He was educated within the Faculty of History at Lviv National University (1994).

And even the Channel 4 description only skims the surface. Parubiy himself has never even tried to deny the lineage of his 1991-formed Social National Party of Ukraine as deriving predominantly from Nazi ideology. Their symbol, the Wolfsangel (pictured), now most known for its association with radical Ukrainian Wolfsangelneo-Nazi Azov battalion,  is described, along with Parubiy’s SNPU itself in (Andreas Umland and Anton Shekhovstov, Ultra right Party Politics in Post-Soviet Ukraine and the Puzzle of the Electoral Marginalism of Ukrainian Ultranationalists in 1994–2009) –

“… of these various Ukrainian nationalist parties the SNPU was the least inclined to conceal its neo fascist affiliations. Its official symbol was the somewhat modified Wolf’s Hook (Wolfsangel),used as a symbol by the German SS division Das Reich and the DutchSS division Landstorm Nederland during World War II and by a numberof European neofascist organizations after 1945. As seen by the SNPU leadership, the Wolf’s Hook became the “idea of the nation.”

Ukraine NazisMoreover,the official name of the party’s ideology, “social nationalism,” clearly referred back to “national socialism”—the offcial name of the ideology of the National-Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) and of the Hitlerite regime. The SNPU’s political platform distinguished itself by its openly revolutionary ultranationalism, its demands for the violent takeover of power in the country, and its willingness to blame Russia for all of Ukraine’s ills. Moreover, the SNPU was the first relatively large party to recruit Nazi skinheads and football hooligans.” 

Andriy Parubiy2Between 1998-2004 Parubiy was the head of paramilitary youth wing of Social-Nationalist Party ‘Patriot of Ukraine‘, which existed until December 2014 when it merged with the similarly far-right, neo Nazi Right Sector (Pravy Sector), who would play such a key role in Euromaidan. He was engaged with and co-ordinating their various violent actions, which ranged from simple football violence to attacks on anything associated with Russia – Parubiy himself was put on trial for alleged assault on communist demonstrators in Lviv on 7 November 1997. Parubiy himself has an extensive history of violence, Parubiy’s book ‘A View from the Right‘, was published in Lviv in 1999, a quote from that here –

“Young men with loose long dirty hair and worn out jeans propagate dissoluteness and pacifism – that’s the result of expansion into Ukraine of American way of life and liberal ideology. Russian-speaking criminal world, devoid of spirituality, without national roots – is the legacy of communist rule in Ukraine.” Parubiy ‘The view from the right ‘ (p. 15)

SvobodaParubiy left the SNPU in 2004, by then the party had rebranded itself as Svoboda, the Nazi lineage remaining, and ever more prevalent as they came to increasing prominence – renaming a street in the Lviv area from ‘Peace Street’ to ‘Nachtigall Street’, honouring the Ukrainian battalion who fought alongside the Nazis, with senior member Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn translating the texts of, and open in his reverence of Joseph Goebbels. Numerous anti-Semitic statements, violent attacks on anything connected with Russia, open racism, attacks on homosexuals … it goes on.

Andriy Paribuy Maidan DefenceParubiy has maintained close ties with his former parties, openly allying with them as he became commander of the Euromaidan ‘Defence’, in the violent overthrow of the Ukrainian government of 2014 (pictured).

He was in charge of the various paramilitary units during this, mobilising them throughout the 3 months of bloody conflict which resulted in the forcing out of Ukraine’s president, and government on February 22nd. There have been allegations he was responsible in instigating the notorious sniper fire of February 20th, where Euromaidan organisers fired on their own activists to escalate the situation.

There is also a connection between Parubiy, and the Odessa massacre of May Odessa_Mykola_Parubiy2nd, 2014. He was seen, on April 29, 2014 (right), delivering military grade bullet proof vests to the Euromaidan activists who would play an integral part in the burning of the Trade Union House base of pro-Russian activists, just days later, with mass loss of life.

So, what is Parubiy’s aim in coming to the UK? Almost certainly aligned with that of his previous visits, to Canada and the UK, where he appealed with those countries to increase their military aid to Ukraine, to send lethal aid.

Unlike Wilders, the UK press have so far kept quiet about Parubiy, the RUSI are Parubiycertainly keeping quiet about his Nazi connections. Parubiy is set to take his place at 11am, on October 23rd, at RUSI, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2ET, to ‘discuss Ukraine’s experiences in countering separatist and Russian actions, with particular focus on assessing the role of hybrid warfare’.

It’s unclear if his audience, and the event is free, open to everyone, via online booking, will know that they are taking ‘expert advice’ from a man who formed a Ukrainian neo-Nazi party, let alone be able to ask him about that.

Mikael Skillt Interview – 15 Key Points

Mikael Skillt

Graham Phillips

Yesterday, continuing into today, the interactive Twitter interview with Swedish citizen, Mikael Skillt, senior member of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov battalion, took place. Skillt’s prolific use of social media has made him effective spokesman for the Azov battalion, one of the battalions ever at the forefront of events in Donbass, giving him a high status as a representative of proceedings.

The basics about Skillt

Mikael Skillt AzovFull name: Kjell Mikael Skillt

Age: 38, 13th December 1976

From: Sundsvall, on Swedish coast

Employment: 7 years in Swedish army, speciality – sniper. Worked in construction industry as ‘project manager’.

Current: Officer, Senior member of Ukrainian Azov Battalion, reports himself in charge of ‘Operations of Swedish Volunteers’.

Location: Skillt spends a lot of time in Kiev, where he was during the interview. He is currently deployed by Mariupol.

Politics: Connections to Nazi Party of Sweden, National Democrats, neo-fascist National Youth, neo-Nazi Swedish Resistance Movement.

Record: Reported sentenced to two months in prison by Sundsvall District Court in 2009, for ‘vandalism, and assault with racist motives’. Again reported convicted in 2013 when he received 75 hours of community service in Solna District Court for rioting.

There was a huge response to the interview, here are the 15 Key Points – 

1. Skillt’s reason for fighting on the Ukrainian side, for the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, is that he ‘hates imperialism‘. He adds that he is not fighting for any government, but ‘fights for Ukraine‘.

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2. There seems to be some issue, or differences, between Skillt and the far-right terrorist group also fighting for Ukraine, the Pravy Sektor. Skillt stops short of fully supporting them, and has apparently never met, or spoken, to leader Dmytro Yarosh ‘That will be between me and Yarosh, if we meet‘.

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3. Skillt does not seem interested in subjects in his own country, Sweden, in which, with his far-right views, you would perhaps expect him to have an interest in. He answers ‘Not my problem, I moved to Ukraine‘ in response to a question on the ‘islamification of Sweden‘.

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4. Skillt purports to believe that he is fighting against ‘Russians’, and reports himself as 5km away from Donetsk at one point. Yet, his statement that Russia is sending ‘drunks‘ casts some doubts as to whether he really believes it is the regular Russian army.

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5. Skillt thinks that Donetsk, Lugansk, and Crimea, will ‘return to Ukraine‘, does not think Ukraine itself should be in Europe. Unlike the official position, Skillt believes there should be an independence referendum in Ukraine.

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6. Skillt says he wouldn’t shoot me, but, in his capacity as an expert sniper, can shoot someone from 1400-1500 metres. He seems to derive pleasure from boasting about his ‘kill count’ – ‘Let’s say that I killed more soldiers then (sic) your whole family have fingers, toes and ears together.’ At one point he adds ‘my soul would give you life long nightmares‘. He seems to enjoy war, adding that his ‘soldier family‘ has been ‘waging war for 500 years‘.

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7. Skillt has abandoned his earlier plan, to go to Syria and fight for President al-Assad. As for Ukraine’s president Poroshenko, he declares that he would ‘prefer a more battle like president‘, but that Poroshenko ‘has his full loyalty‘.

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8. Skillt joined the neo-Nazi Azov battalion because they ‘had what he needed‘ – a ‘structure and armory’, and reports himself as senior in the operation. Despite numerous statements from Azov about ‘reporting to no one‘, and their links to oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, and ultra-nationalist Ukrainian politician Oleg Lyashko, Skillt states that Azov are in the National Guard, neo-Nazi Pravy Sektor founder Andrei Biletsky is the ‘supreme commander‘. Skillt would not be drawn on Azov’s oft-declared intention for ‘another Maidan’ in Kiev.

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9. It was Euromaidan which made Skillt want to get involved, and he reports himself as having only received 4000UAH, around $200, for his participation. He reports himself as having ‘lost 60,000 Euros’ fighting for Ukraine, thinks of himself as a ‘modern crusader’.

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10. Skillt expresses mixed feelings on Ukrainian WWII Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, but believes he ‘saved a lot of lives‘ (the first time I’ve heard this claim about Bandera).

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11. Despite fighting for a Ukraine going to enormous lengths to make people speak the Ukrainian language, rather than Russian, Skillt only speaks Russian.

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12.  Skillt expressed numerous, extreme anti-Russian sentiments throughout the interview, he would ‘color the Azov sea red with the blood of Russian soldiers if needed‘, yet declares he ‘likes Russians but hates what Russia has become under Putin‘. Skillt believes the recent Chernobyl forest fires were started ‘by Russia‘.

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13. Skillt does clearly not believe in ‘respect one’s enemy’, saying that Motorola and Givi, commanders of NAF forces, are ‘war criminals‘ ‘rabid dogs‘. whom he would kill with pleasure. He states that he has killed ‘over 100′ in Donbass‘. He says he has ‘no feelings when I work‘, and that when he works he ‘turns into a machine‘.

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14. Skillt is in a serious relationship with a Ukrainian woman, which seems to have heightened the lengths he is prepared to go to for his ’cause’. He goes back to his native Sweden ‘regularly‘, where he receives assistance, is prepared to take Ukrainian citizenship. As for his own mortality, Skillt seems to believe himself near invincible, on asking how he would like to be killed ‘it will never happen‘.

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15. Skillt admits that the Ukrainians shell civilian areas of Donbass, yet attempts to justify this by saying the ‘Russians‘ use them as ‘human shields‘.

Fullscreen capture 04052015 021959.bmp     Full transcript here.

Who Goes to an Azov Battalion Charity Concert? Here’s 10

Originally published on http://www.grahamwphillips.com on 1st July 2014… (see below) 

The Azov Battalion was formed on May 5th, 4 days later they were involved in still one of the most shocking actions of this Ukraine crisis, the Mariupol massacre. They were the battalion sent out of the Mariupol police hq first, into the streets, shooting, killing unarmed civilians. Since then, involvement in further atrocities across the former east of Ukraine has had them labelled ‘men in black’ (their uniform is all black, unmarked), even a ‘death squad‘. Part of their funding reportedly comes from oligarch Igor Kolomoisky. How many of them are there? Some have reported 70, but the group itself are secretive about exact numbers, with speculation it could be in the hundreds. Their official Facebook page has over 8000 ‘likes’.

Azov concert posterIn addition to Kolomoisky, the unit is part funded by the Ukrainian government and now, as it transpires, part funded by a charity concert taking place in Kharkov on July 13th, comprising heavy and death metal acts, with tickets on sale for 150 UAH (a bit under $13 – left).

The axes are clear, the sign superimposed over the Ukrainian colours of the shield, the Wolfsangel, a symbol in common use among neo-Nazi groups. Here from the Anti-Defamation League website

Along with many other runic symbols, Nazi Germany appropriated the Wolfsangel. It appeared as part of the divisional insignia of several Waffen-SS units, including the notorious 2nd SS “Das Reich” Panzer Division. As a result, it became a symbol of choice for neo-Nazis in Europe and the United States.

So, who would go to this concert? Well, 172 are confirmed, 236 maybes, let’s have a look at 10 – (all photos taken from their Vkontakte profiles, links provided so you can check yourself) –

>Лютый Слобожанин – Luti Slobozhanin is going. Luti translates from Russian as ‘fierce’, by the way. This is his profile photo –

Vkontakte Lutin

Fairly ordinary, albeit with weapons. Then in his photos this below, which says, in Ukrainian, Mariupol Today, Sevastopol Tomorrow, presumably a reference to the Mariupol massacre of May 9th and that supposedly representing the ‘taking back’ of the city for the Ukrainian side, with Sevastopol in Crimea they believe to come –

Vkontakte Lutin2

Luti would seem to be a member of Azov himself, with many personal style photos of the battalion posted –

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Azov Battalion1

And this one, which says ‘There was never an order to disband the UPA‘. The UPA being the notorious Ukrainian Insurgent Army, who collaborated with the Nazis in World War Two. Actually, their purges of Jews and Poles in west Ukraine shocked even the Nazis at their brutality. 

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The Wolfsangel is there in his pictures, on a black helmet against the Ukrainian flag –

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His profile goes on, with swastikas –

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A photo in honour of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik

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And a poster declaring ‘Legalize Murder’, something which clearly resonates with an Azov battalion who opened fire on unarmed civilians in Mariupol on May 9th.

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Luti will be there at the event, which advertises tickets on sale at shops across Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city.

Helga Wise has a profile photo of an avatar holding a molotov cocktail against the Ukrainian flag. She also identifies herself as a member of far-right extremist group the Pravy Sektor. She’s going –

Azov supporter Ukraine
There’s Злая Щука, Zlaya Shuka, which translates something like ‘wicked pike’. He’s gone for a Nazi war medal on his profile page –
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Zlaya will be there on the 13th, at Club Zhara, near the city’s Metalist football stadium.
There’s Большой Ребёнок – Bolshoi Rebenok – translates as big child. The faces are blurred on an otherwise standard profile photos of him and his friends in front of the Ukrainian flag –
Bolshoi rebenok
Then, in his photos, among copious other extremist images, this –
VK Nazi skulls
Создан Творить, Sozdan Tvorit, translates as ‘created to create’ has himself bearing the Wolfsangel as his profile photo –

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He’s blacked out his own eyes in most his photos, those not, such as this, spraying a Wolfsangel onto a wall, he (presumably) is balaclava-d –

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Here Sozdan is giving out a Nazi salute on top of a building –

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And, among a litany of himself in combat images, here he is kicking a drawing of a Star of David

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There’s Андрій Нахтігаль, Andrei Nachtigall – the Nachtigall not his real name rather the name of the Ukrainian Nachtigall battalion which collaborated with the Nazis in WWII. Here’s his profile –


Azov Nazi 2
With many photos of Andrei in fatigues and military equipment, he’s clearly a trained soldier, from Ternopil in the west of Ukraine. And numerous photos of neo-Nazi party Svoboda indicate an affiliation there too –
Azov Nazi 3
But Andrei’s main obsession is apparent even from a quick overview of his photos. Hitler and the Nazis. There’s a photo marking Hitler’s birthday –
Azov Nazi
One declaring ‘I want this again’ with a photo of Hitler, and a line about rolling on tanks throwing out ‘sieg heils’ –

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But it can’t all be Hitler, Andrei likes the ladies too. As long as the ladies like Hitler.

Azov Nazi porn

Some senior figures too, Ігор Криворучко, Igor Krivoruchko, head of the Social National Assembly – an umbrella organisation encompassing the most extreme far-right groups in Ukraine, from which the Pravy Sektor was born last year.
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Nazi Azov
The Wolfsangel again –
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You’ll find Igor there, enjoying LIMITED MUTANTER (Death Metal), among others. And as for the others going, there are the above and those like them, but there are many who look just like normal Ukrainians –

Лёля Радченко, Lelya Radchenko

Azov concert guy

Валерия Жежеленко, Valeriya Zhezhelenko
Azov concert girl
Алексей Кузнецов, Aleksiy Kutznetzov
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The above are just 10 who will be cheering on, attendance set to swell to well above 200, perhaps 300 on a night which will surely spawn countless Vkontakte photos of men who’ve carried out the murder of civilians being feted as stars. Any sum of money raised by the concert, maximum a few thousand dollars, will be a drop in the ocean in keeping the fully-equipped military unit they are rolling, so the event organised by a group called the ‘eastern brotherhood‘ is really just a chance for all their fans to congratulate their heroes.

The men who take their name from the Sea of Azov, claim they are ‘patriots of Ukraine‘, worship Nazi ideology. An official part of the Ukrainian military. A Ukrainian military endorsed by the EU, the US. By neo-Nazi Ukrainians. By normal Ukrainians. They will surely give the Azov battalion a big night on the 13th, before unleashing their men in black to bring further death to those in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Azov Battalion Ukraine

 

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