Far-right radicals in Ukraine’s military have boasted about receiving training from the Canadian Forces and several other NATO nations, according to a new research from an American university. The research, conducted by an institute at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., followed the far-right group Centuria’s social media pages, documenting its Ukrainian military members performing Nazi salutes, advocating white nationalism, and glorifying members of Nazi SS units.
According to the research from George Washington’s Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, the far-right group has been active at the Hetman Petro Sahaidachny National Army Academy, or NAA, since 2018. The NAA is Ukraine’s foremost military education institute and a significant center for Western military support to the nation, notably Canadian support.
Centuria members revealed on social media that they had gotten military training from Canada and had engaged in military drills with Canada. As per the institute’s research, Centuria organizers boasted to their followers in May that their members currently serve as officers in Ukraine’s military and “have succeeded in establishing cooperation with foreign colleagues from countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, German, and Poland.”
“The Ukrainian military’s failure to rein in Centuria activities indicates a level of tolerance on its part for the apparent proliferation of far-right ideology and influence within the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the researchers cautioned. One member of the group has completed officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom, and will graduate in late 2020. In 2019, another attended the German Army Officer’s Academy in Dresden.
Centuria came out in support of a protest staged by Ukrainian far-right organizations in the summer of 2019 to counter the LGBTQ “Kyiv Pride” event. Centuria issued a statement in which it stated its support for “right-wing patriots, nationalists, conservatives, and Christians who are currently defending the streets of Kyiv from perverts from the LGBTQ movement and their left-liberal sympathizers.” Centuria is also connected to the notorious Azov movement. As a result of its extensive ties to the extreme right and Neo Nazis, the United States Congress prohibited the use of US funding to give guns, training, and other military aid to the Azov Battalion back in 2018.