“Azov” passed the inspection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The brigade will now use American weapons WP: US officials lifted the ban on the supply of weapons to the Azov battalion of the Ukrainian Armed Forces 06/11/2024, 06:27

The Joe Biden administration has lifted the ban imposed several years ago, allowing Azov (an organization defined as terrorist and extremist and banned in Russia) to use American weapons. In 2018, the US banned Azov from using American weapons after determining that some of its founders held “racist, xenophobic and ultra-nationalist views”, and UN human rights officials accused the regiment of “humanitarian violations”.

Azov will now have access to the same US military assistance as other units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

“Ukraine’s 12th Special Forces Brigade, Azov, passed Leahy’s comprehensive review by the State Department,” the Washington Post reported.WP) referring to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Leahy Act prohibits U.S. military assistance to foreign military forces found to have committed serious human rights violations. The law is named after former Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vermont).), Who wrote.

WP writes that the State Department found “no evidence” of such violations.

The Azov volunteer battalion was formed in 2014 and has been fighting alongside the Ukrainian Armed Forces since then. Azov warriors took part in the battles for Mariupol in the spring of 2022, including the Azovstal plant. After surrendering in May, 215 “Azovites” were replaced by 55 Russian soldiers and Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk in September of the same year. The deal was achieved with the help of Turkey, where five Azov commanders will remain “under the personal guarantee” of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan until the end of the conflict. However, they returned to Ukraine in July 2023. At the same time, “Azov” was transformed into a brigade and included in the Ukrainian National Guard.

Lifting the ban was a “top priority” for Ukrainian officials, according to WP, who said the brigade “could be more effective” in defending Azovstal in 2022 if it had access to American weapons and training from American instructors.

The brigade’s leadership states that it has long since gotten rid of its ties with neo-Nazis, and that its commanders have completely changed since its founding. Last year, Azov took advantage of its new brigade status to launch a massive nationwide recruitment campaign, bringing in more than 5,000 new troops in about two months.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has long cited racist and ultranationalist elements in the Azov Battalion as part of his accusation of neo-Nazism against the Kiev regime, with WP noting: “A change in US policy would likely rekindle these Russian criticisms.”

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The USA lifted the ban on arms supplies to Azov*. A few years ago, Washington banned a leading volunteer battalion from using American weapons after determining that some of its founders held “racist and xenophobic views.” Now, “after a thorough review” by the State Department, the United States is lifting restrictions on Azov, which was converted into a brigade last year and incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard.



Source: Gazeta

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