Russia announced on Tuesday plans to host the world’s first “International Anti-Fascist Congress” in order to “unite” the world’s efforts in combatting the ideology of Nazism and Neo-Nazism.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced a military operation to “de-Nazify” Ukraine last week, claiming Jewish President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government was run by “Nazis” and “coup” leaders. Zelensky became president in a free and fair election in 2019 – in which his opponent, Petro Poroshenko, attacked him as being too friendly to Russia.
In an apparent attempt to reclaim the political narrative amid accusations of war crimes, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu reiterated one of Vladimir Putin’s justifications for launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last week, who said that the Russian military’s aim is to “demilitarize and denazify” the country in order to protect ethnic Russians in the Donbas region from “genocide.”
“The Russian army’s units will continue carrying out a special military operation until the goals are achieved,” the defence minister claimed, according to Russia’s Sputnik News, adding that Russia forces are not there to “occupy” Ukrinane but merely root out the Nazi elements.
Shoigu said that Russia will also lead the world in combatting Nazism, announcing that Russia will host the “First International Antifascist Congress” in August, which will seek to “unite efforts of the international community in the fight against the ideology of Nazism, neo-Nazism in any form of its manifestation in the modern world.”
Similar rhetoric was also mirrored by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who told the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting on Tuesday: “The goal of our actions is to save people by fulfilling our allied obligations, as well as to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry went on to claim that “Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities” and are merely attacking military infrastructure, adding: “There are no threats whatsoever to the civilian population.”
According to Ukrainian officials, however, a concert hall, opera house, and government buildings were shelled by the Russians in the city of Kharkiv, with ten people reportedly losing their lives and 35 left injured.
Sharing footage purportedly showing the attacks, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba again accused the Russians of committing “war crimes” for the “barbaric Russian missile strikes on the central Freedom Square and residential districts of Kharkiv.”
Barbaric Russian missile strikes on the central Freedom Square and residential districts of Kharkiv. Putin is unable to break Ukraine down. He commits more war crimes out of fury, murders innocent civilians. The world can and must do more. INCREASE PRESSURE, ISOLATE RUSSIA FULLY! pic.twitter.com/tN4VHF1A9n
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 1, 2022
While there are some elements of Neo-Nazism in Ukraine – such as the notorious paramilitary Azov Battalion in Mariupol, which was co-opted into the country’s National Guard – the country itself is led by President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish and the grandson of World War II veterans who fought against Nazi Germany.
Addressing the Russian people prior to the invasion last week, Zelensky said: “They tell you that we’re Nazis. But how can a people that lost eight million lives to defeat the Nazis support Nazism? How can I be a Nazi? Say it to my grandfather, who fought in World War II as a Soviet infantryman and died a colonel in an independent Ukraine.”
There are also large-scale neo-Nazi organisations in Putin’s country, including the political party/paramilitary group Russian National Unity which features a swastika in its emblem and has previously fought on behalf of the Russians in Ukraine.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also seen radical Islamist mercenaries joining the fight under the banner of the leader of the Russian Federation’s Muslim-majority Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, who has claimed to have marshalled 70,000 volunteers to fight alongside Putin’s forces.
In response to the Chechen invasion, the National Guard of Ukraine released video footage purporting to show “Azov fighters” rubbing their bullets in pig fat to combat the Chechen “orcs”.
Islamist Kadyrov Ready to Unleash Thousands of Chechen Fighters on Ukraine for Putinhttps://t.co/yzGetVAnY8
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 26, 2022
Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka
Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.