Tags / rightwing
European volunteer fighters and far-right activists have travelled to Ukraine to fight along side pro-Ukrainian forces against pro-Russian separatists. They come from France, Sweden, and other parts of Europe. They have different motivations for participating in the conflict, but they all say that they are not paid to fight.
Journalists Fausto Biloslavo and Laura Lesevre travelled to Ukraine and interviewed, among others, Mikael Skillt, a Swedish sniper, with seven years' experience in the Swedish Army and the Swedish National Guard. Mikael is currently fighting with the Azov Battalion, a pro-Ukrainian volunteer armed group in eastern Ukraine. He says there is a bounty of nearly 5,000 euros on his head.
This 11:26 minutes video story includes footage of the Azov Battalion training and fighting against pro-Russia separatists. It also include interviews with an Italian and a Russian volunteer fighter. It also includes an interview with Mikael Skillt, a Swedish sniper.
A volunteer fighter wearing the t-shirt with the emblem of the Azov Battalion. The battalion is under the control of Kiev’s Interior ministry.
46 year old Gaston Besson from France says he wants to defend Ukraine’s independence. Besson, who has also fought in Croatia, Bosnia, Burma and Laos, is in charge of recruiting foreign European volunteers to fight against pro-Russian rebels. "Every day I get dozens of e-mail with requests of enlistment, but I reject 75% of them. People who want to join us are to buy the plane ticket with their own money. Then they go over an initial period of training in Kiev before being sent to the front line. We do not want fanatics, trigger-happy people, drunkards or druggies. We need unpaid idealists, not hired mercenaries”, he says.
Volunteer fighters from the Azov battalion during urban warfare training.
Francesco F, an Italian volunteer fighter in the Azav battalion's base in Berdyansk.
An armed member of the Azov Battalion at a check point near Berdyansk in Eastern Ukraine.
Mikael Skillt, a Swedish sniper, with seven years' experience in the Swedish Army and the Swedish National Guard. Mikael is currently fighting with the Azov Battalion, a pro-Ukrainian volunteer armed group in eastern Ukraine. He says there is a bounty of nearly 5,000 euros on his head.
Members of the Azov battalion in their base in Eastern Ukraine.
Francesco F. an Italian volunteer fighter with the Azav battalion during training. Francesco gave up his life as a manager in order to fight alongside Ukrainians against pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine.
A member of the Azav battalion. All fighters wear masks to cover their faces for fear of reprisals.
Fighters from the Azav battalion resting on the grass.
Volunteer fighters from the Azov battalion during training.
Volunteer fighters from the Azov battalion.
A fighter from the Azov battalion during a shooting training.
The Azov battalion fighting in east-Ukraine counts 250 men. Most of them are far-right activists. The battalion also counts a dozen of foreign volunteers fighters from countries like Sweden, France, Finland, Italy and Russia, as well as football ultras. They claim they are not paid to fight.
Fighters from the Azov battalion during shooting training.
A fighter from the Azov battalion during training.