Ukraine interior minister who is a major sponsor of the Azov battalion has said US troops in Ukraine will train the neo-Nazi outfit
This is an excerpt from an article that riginally appeared in The Moscow Times
As part of its effort to support Ukraine, the U.S. military is sending 290 troops from the 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Italy to train elements of the Ukrainian National Guard.
In taking this step, U.S. President Barack Obama has chosen the middle ground between doing nothing on the one hand or embroiling the U.S. more deeply in the conflict by sending billions of dollars of lethal weaponry to Ukraine.
Unfortunately however, thanks to a Facebook post by Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, the 173rd's training effort has been overshadowed by another controversy.
In his post, Avakov stated that one of the organizations the U.S. would be training is the infamous Azov battalion — a claim firmly contradicted by a spokesperson for the American Embassy in Kiev.
The reason Interior Minister Avakov would want to see the Azov battalion trained by American forces is clear. Avakov has been a prime sponsor of the Azov battalion, and has had a longstanding relationship with Azov's leadership dating back to his time as governor of the Kharkiv region.
The problem though is that while making this association may be in Avakov's interest, it is certainly not in the broader interests of either Ukraine or the U.S..
When the American military is spending time and resources to train Ukrainian forces, it is unseemly of a leading Ukrainian politician to use this effort to try to embroil the U.S. in internal Ukrainian politics.
Read the full article at The Moscow Times