One of the top pieces of news over the past few days has been the undeclared war been the Ukrainian army and special services on the one hand, and Ukrainian Nazi paramilitary groups on the other.
The events of this war have been reported very sparingly and with a lot of omissions, for obvious reasons, in Ukrainian media. But they are being covered widely in the press of the Donbass republics. One might be tempted to write this off as an element of the information-propaganda war being waged by both sides, if it weren’t for the public admissions left by the Ukrainian Nazis themselves.
My sources in military and political circles in the Donetsk People’s Republic have also confirmed the incident, and these are people who regularly record and analyze clashes between Ukrainian armed forces and Nazi groups. In this sense, nothing new has happened. But the “same old, same old” now has a more volatile political context.
These testimonies were lent additional credence on July 27th. On that day, a religious procession in Kiev gathered an enormous number of believers – 250,000 people from across all of Ukraine’s regions. Despite Ukrainian authorities’ attempts at preventing the event (the procession was organized by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Muscovite Patriarchate, which is the only canonical, legitimate Orthodox Church in Ukraine), the march went on. An interesting detail is that the police and special units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs actively fought off Ukrainian Nazis who tried to disrupt the procession.
This is direct evidence that relations between Interior Minister Avakov and Ukrainian Nazi groups are in tatters. In this spirit, just recently news appeared that relations had been broken off between Avakov and the main Nazi, Biletsky, the founder and commander of the Azov battalion/regiment.
The chronology of events of the recent clash is the following: on July 25th, units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces launched an artillery attack on positions of the Nazi groups Right Sector and Azov in the area of Lebedinskoe (south DPR). As a result, three militants were killed and five were wounded. The shelling itself was done by the 36th individual brigade of Ukraine’s marine corps. This information was reported by the official spokesman of the Donetsk People’s Republic’s Armed Forces, Daniil Bezsonov.
A day earlier, on July 24th, another armed clash broke out between Ukrainian state forces and Nazis. Special forces of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) seized Right Sector headquarters, with the Nazi militants surrendering after a brief firefight.
Russkaya Vesna has reported: “The background of this clash might be the case that took place on July 15th, when a special group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was sent on a mission to disarm Right Sector units. The truck which was transporting the soldiers of the 23rd battalion of the 56th motorized infantry brigade was blown up by a controlled explosive along the way.”
This report seems to be reliable, and only further enriches the evidence of the truth that there has been a secret war ongoing in Donbass between the Nazi battalions and UAF.
Such clashes have been persistent since spring 2014. The latest instance is only new from the standpoint that the media has paid attention to it – first in Donbass, and then in Russia. But what has caused this latest escalation in tensions?
In my opinion, the answer to this question should not be sought to deep. Bezsonov believes that such actions are tied to the recent meeting of the commander of Oeperation United Forces, Sergey Naev, and the leader of the Ukrainian National Movement party and commander of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army, Dmitry Yarosh. This is the same Yarosh who once led Right Sector and became a major figure of the Nazi scene thanks to funding from the Jewish oligarch Kolomoysky. Both Yarosh and Kolomoysky are natives of the Dnepropetrovsk region. In Ukrainian Nazi circles, Yarosh has a bad reputation and is considered half-Jewish.
According to the official wording, Naev and Yarosh discussed nationalists switching over to serve in the Ukrainian Armed Forces upon concluding a contract. According to unofficial testimonies, Naev gave Yarosh an ultimatum: either Ukrainian Nazi battalions will conclude a contract with and join the UAF, or else.
Obviously, the two sides did not see eye to eye. Thus, Naev used the last resort of kings: artillery. UAF artillery has shelled Ukrainian Nazis from Right Sector to further the argument.
If one read the public posts of Ukrainian Nazis, it is truly striking how much hatred they feel towards the head of Operation United Forces. This is understandable. In Ukrainian military circles, Naev has a low reputation, and is considered the “armchair general”, a personal protege of the hated oligarch president Poroshenko.
Many Ukrainian Nazis have been fighting in Donbass since spring/summer 2014. They look at the army with contempt and have gotten accustomed to acting autonomously with impunity and easy money. The Nazi battalions have been in a privileged position compared to that of the UAF, and now they have been “offered” to give all of this up. Hence the conflict of interests is obvious.
I think that these clashes will only escalate. The closer that presidential election day comes, the more acute the antagonisms between the oligarch-Nazi duumvirate will become. The two major forces of the Kiev regime – the oligarchs and the Nazis – now hate each other. But the fiercest struggle, I believe, will take place not in Donbass, but in Kiev and Ukraine’s cities where the Nazis feel too at ease. The recent shelling of Right Sector is but a small incident in a larger war on the eve of presidential elections in Ukraine.