FSWC Calls for Investigation After Ukrainian Neo-Nazis Brag About Receiving Training from Canada’s Military

October 18, 2021

Media Release

Toronto (October 18, 2021) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is calling for an investigation by Canada’s Department of National Defence after far-right extremists within the Ukrainian military were found bragging on social media that they received training from the Canadian Armed Forces.

A new study released by the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at Washington D.C.’s George Washington University documents Ukrainian military members involved with an extremist group called Centuria giving Nazi salutes, promoting white nationalism and praising members of Nazi SS units. The study found that members of Centuria were claiming to have received training from the Canadian Armed Forces and to have participated in military training exercises with Canada.

The Canadian Armed Forces has stated that it does not investigate the backgrounds of foreign members they train and that it is the responsibility of Ukraine to ensure its soldiers are not connected to extremist movements. However, according to the study, the Armed Forces of Ukraine does not vet its recruits for ties to extremism.

Today, FSWC wrote to Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan and the armed forces’ Acting Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre, urging them to open an investigation into the revelations made by the George Washington University study.

“It is unacceptable for our armed forces to be emboldening neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine, or any other country, through the provision of CAF training. This is an issue fundamental to the purpose of Canada’s forces and to the respect we owe our veterans – who sacrificed so much to defeat fascism in Europe. We urge the Department of National Defence to immediately launch an investigation into the evidence that has been revealed by the George Washington University study and to develop new policies and procedures to ensure that all foreign trainees receive some type of background check to eliminate the possibility of neo-Nazi or other extremist affiliation before receiving training from Canadian forces,” FSWC stated.

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