Ukrainians far-right radicals offer up “a battalion” for the unity of Spain

Catalan MonitorArticles, News Roundup

By Quique Badia
30th October 2017

Three individuals appeared in a video uploaded to YouTube, seated in front of Christian symbols and an image of [Dictator, Francisco] Franco, and “¡Viva Cristo Rey!” (Long live Christ the King!). No, they are not a group of our own [Spanish] Catholics, but three veterans of the so-called Ukrainian “Anti-Terrorist Organizations” (ATO) who have been fighting in the East of the country against the secessionism movement of Novarussia, a so-called federation, made up of the republics of Lugansk and Donetsk (two administrations which have the support of neighboring Russia).

In the video call they state they have 300 volunteers ready to travel to Spain to stop the independence of Catalonia. They draw a parallel between the rupture of their country in 2014 and the proclamation of the Catalan Republic.

It is not the first time in recent weeks that representatives of the Ukrainian far-right show their sympathies to the Spanish Executive. In recent days, the representative of the Patriotic Association of Ukraine in Spain, Ivan Vovk, has published several messages on Facebook in favor of the unity of Spain.

Vovk came to our attention in January 2014 in Madrid, during the protests of the so-called Euromaidan in his country, when former President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an association agreement with the Union European (EU) with the aim of drawing closer to Russia. He has also been linked to the violent incursion at the Complutense University of Madrid, by supposed members of the ultra-right party Svoboda (Freedom) which occurred during a memorial for dozens of people murdered at the Odessa Workers Unions’ Headquarters.

Hooligans, Neonazis and Ultra-nationalists

Ivan Vovk has been presented as a member of Svoboda in Spain several times. In 2013, the Ukrainian met with the neo-Nazi Social Republican Movement (MSR) party at an event where Igor Miroshnichenko, a member of the political council of the ultra-nationalist MSR, also attended, and David Lakhovich, the advisor to a deputy of the party and also a Spanish resident.

In the same year, Taras Osaulenko, representative of Svoboda, met with National Democracy and other groups from the European ultra-nationalist scene, in Stockholm, such as the German Democratic National Party (NPD) and the Italian Forza Nuova (FN). Ivan Vovk, who supposedly left Ukraine in search of a better future, has maintained his patriotic militancy from within Spain, collecting “donations” for his country’s supposed “war” against Russia.

During the Euromaidan protests in Kiev, the radical hooligans from soccer teams in the Ukrainian capital found themselves on the front line of combat against Yanukovych’s police. Thus, ultra-right hooligans, many of them linked to groups such as the aforementioned Svoboda and the Neo-Nazis Pravy Sektor, ended up adding to the numbers of volunteer “battalions”, such as the well-known “Azov”.

In February 2015, the Hogar Social Madrid (HSM, or Social Home Madrid) hosted a talk with fighters from this brigade.

Football hooligans are increasingly involved. The Revolutionary National Action group (ANR) ran a protest at the gates of the Ukrainian embassy in February 2014 to show its support for Pravy Sektor and Svoboda. Among the attendees was, Ana Pavón, number five in the National Democracy lists for European elections in 2004, and top fo the list to head the Nation and Revolution party in 2011. NyR is an organisation that emerged from the neo-nazi group Combat España, among the prominent members of which was the member of Real Madrid’s Radical Hoooligan group, Ultrasur, Alberto Ayala. In 2008, they were considered to be one of the most dangerous neo-nazi groups in Spain, according to police sources consulted for the “20 Minutos” programme.

Members of the Azov battalion appeared in a video posted yesterday on Twitter in front of a painted mural upon which can be read “Spain: one, great, and free” and in which we see photographs of murals and groups, where the logo of the aforementioned Real Madrid-associated radical hooligan group, Ultrasur, is visible.

In the video with which we opened this article, the combatants speaking assert that Spanish volunteers fought, arms in hand, against “separatism in eastern Ukraine.” If this is true, one could assume that volunteers to return the favour in Spain shouldn’t be hard to find.

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