LOS ANGELES — According to a recent FBI indictment, several American white supremacists were allegedly radicalized by and received training from Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which receives funding from the current government of Ukraine as well as the U.S. government. The group has also received weapons from the Israeli government.
The indictment, filed in Los Angeles, California last month, asserts that four American members of the “Rise Above Movement” (RAM) — RAM co-founder Robert Rundo as well as Robert Boman, Tyler Laube and Aaron Eason — had “violently attacked and assaulted counter-protestors” at several white nationalist and white supremacist events throughout the U.S., including the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last year.
The named individuals are alleged to have “used the Internet to coordinate combat training in preparation for the events” and to have celebrated “their acts of violence in order to recruit members for future events.”
Court documents refer to RAM as a “white supremacy extremist group” while the group self-represents as “a combat-ready, militant group of a new nationalist white supremacy/identity movement.”
The recent indictment gives special attention to Rundo’s more recent activities, particularly his trip to Europe earlier this year where he traveled to Germany, Ukraine, and Italy “to meet with members of European white supremacy extremist groups.” The FBI became aware that one of the individuals with whom Rundo had met during this trip was Olena Semenyaka, a leader of the International Department for the National Corps, a Ukrainian political party that was formed as an offshoot of the Azov Battalion in 2016.
The affidavit detailing Rundo’s meeting with Semenyaka, signed by FBI agent Scott Bierwirth, states that “the Azov Battalion is a paramilitary unit of the Ukrainian National Guard which is known for its association with neo-Nazi ideology and use of Nazi symbolism.” It then adds that Azov Battalion “is believed to have participated in training and radicalizing United States-based white supremacy organizations,” such as RAM.
In other words, the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion is suspected by the U.S. government of both training and radicalizing violent white supremacist groups based in America. This is particularly troubling when one considers the fact that the U.S. government directly enabled the Azov Battalion’s growth and prominence. Now, it seems that those actions have translated into troubling domestic consequences for the United States..."
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