HomeWorld NewsDND says no basis for claims it trained extremists in Ukraine

DND says no basis for claims it trained extremists in Ukraine


The Department of National Defence (DND) says it has concluded its 2021 review into the findings of a report from George Washington University that cited allegations by a far-right group in the Ukrainian military that claimed it had trained with the Canadian Armed Forces and other western military and found itself absolved.


In a statement emailed to CTVNews.ca Wednesday, as spokesperson for the DND reiterated that all Task Force Ukraine personnel receive pre-deployment training on right-wing extremism, including symbols.


“Regarding your questions about our review of the George Washington University report findings, the review was started in the Fall of 2021 and is now complete. The review examined whether the CAF had exercised their due diligence in preventing members of right-wing extremist organizations from receiving training as part of Operation UNIFIER,” the statement said. “The report is still under review by the CAF chain of command, but it concludes that there was no factual basis found of neo-Nazi links for the group trained by Task-Force Ukraine.”


The spokesperson said the Canadian Armed Forces take every reasonable measure to include no training is provided to members of extremist elements, and that the report contains classified and sensitive information, and they are analyzing which parts will be released to the public.


Also included in the statement was a response to allegations that the Azov Regiment, previously known as the Azov Battalion, had received or benefitted from training done by the CAF.


“Canada does not train members of Azov Battalion – this has never been part of our mandate … what has always been clear is that have not – nor will we – be providing training support to Azov and affiliated entities,” the statement reads.


The claims in the DND statement are directly refuted by first-hand testimony from an Azov Regiment officer interviewed by CTVNews.ca, in which he states that while the group was not allowed to take part with Canada’s mission in Ukraine known as Operation UNIFIER officially, Canadian instructors “became friends” with Azov members and instructors, speaking and dealing with them as “professionals to professionals.”


The same officer previously confirmed findings that members of Azov were involved in the western-backed Zolochiv training centre in Western Ukraine.

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