Ukraine’s far-right activists and white supremacists have been receiving “special-ops like” training from a major European security company. Investigative citizen-journalism site Bellingcat reports the European Security Academy (ESA) has been giving firearms and tactics training to people associated with Ukraine’s notorious Azov Regiment—a unit of the Ukrainian National Guard that has close links to the country’s neo-Nazi groups. Current and former Azov members, and other far-right activists, have reportedly received the ESA training. Bellingcat reports some of the activist groups are linked to attacks on Ukrainian Roma, LGBT people, and rights activists. At least one recipient of ESA training is reported to be an active member of an ultra-nationalist group known as Tradition and Order and has openly admitted online to supporting a Nazi ideology. Several others have publicly shared photos showing neo-Nazi salutes and tattoos, including one who reportedly has swastikas on his head. ESA’s managing director told Bellingcat that the company conducted background checks of applicants, but didn’t specify what its disqualifying criteria is.
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