The AP has published images of a supposed unit leader who sports terrorist insignia
A Ukrainian commander of a unit aka Kurt (right) speaks to his comrades during planning morning operation at the frontline in Donetsk region, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 13, 2023. © AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka
The Associated Press (AP) has released a series of photographs as well as a video clip purportedly showing several Kiev fighters on the frontline in the Donetsk region. One of the soldiers, identified by the outlet as a Ukrainian unit commander by the name of Kurt, can be seen wearing an ISIS (Islamic State) insignia on his left arm.
This isn’t the first time Kiev’s servicemen and paramilitaries have been caught on camera wearing extremist insignia, with many displayed sporting Nazi tattoos or patches.
In fact, these have often been personally associated with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. Earlier this week, he published several photos of Kiev’s soldiers on his Instagram account. One of the images featured a serviceman resting in a trench while wearing a ‘totenkopf’ (death’s head) skull patch – a symbol of the 3rd SS Tank Division, infamous for massacring civilians in France and the Eastern Front, including Polish Jews.
In May, Zelensky also shared an image of a soldier with a similar skull-head patch, but later deleted it. In October, he was photographed on a visit to the frontline while being surrounded by security guards wearing the same insignia.
Kiev has denied the presence of any neo-Nazi elements in the country’s military, bluntly dismissing such assertions as “Russian propaganda.”
Moscow, however, has repeatedly pointed to the fact that Kiev openly welcomes fighters with radical nationalistic and neo-Nazi views. One such example is the incorporation of the infamous Azov Regiment – which openly uses the SS-affiliated wolfsangel (wolf’s hook) rune as its official symbol – into Ukraine’s National Guard.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has maintained that the “denazification” is one of the primary reasons Moscow ultimately decided to launch its military operation in Ukraine in late February of 2022.