Efraim Zuroff, the Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, has denounced Canadian troops for providing the training, though Ottawa is denying culpability by using the excuse that Canadian forces did not vet the Ukrainian troops before providing the training -- which is lame considering all Western governments have known for years that Ukrainian formations like the Azov Battalion have long ties to neo-Nazi beliefs.
"The Canadian government has not paid due attention," Zuroff told Citizen of Ottawa last week, according to the site B92.net.
“The Government of Canada did not exercise due diligence,” Zuroff added. “Defence Canada has an obligation to know exactly who they are training.”
He went on to insist that the responsibility lies with the Canadian Ministry of Defense to know exactly whom its soldiers are training.
“There is no doubt that there are neo-Nazis in Ukraine in various forms, whether in the Azov Regiment or other organizations,” he said.
His comments followed a report by Radio Canada on Monday that in November 2020, Canadian troops were photographed training members of the Azov Regiment, as well as at least one soldier with the identification marks of the SS division “Galicia”, a Ukrainian unit that fought on the side of the Nazis in World War II.
The Canadian military has acknowledged the authenticity of the photographs, according to the Ottawa Citizen. However, the Canadian Forces (CAF) have denied that they are required to test the soldiers they train.
Ukraine is responsible for checking its personnel, Captain Veronik Saburin told the newspaper.
He added that all Canadian military personnel involved in training Ukraine's forces were told how to recognize insignia that is "associated with right-wing extremism" and whether they suspect any Ukrainian troops to hold "racist views," adding those troops will be removed from training.
But, "there is no burden of proof on CAF to demonstrate this beyond a reasonable doubt," Saburin noted further.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has openly supported Ukraine -- like the U.S. and most of the West -- since Russia invaded the country on February 24. Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the operation sought to "demilitarize and denazify" the Ukrainian government in Kyiv.
Since Western countries began backing Ukraine, however, past reports in Western media about Nazi-affiliated Ukrainian formations such as the Azov Battalion have been buried or otherwise overlooked; now any new reports highlighting those Nazi units are dismissed as "Russian disinformation" or propaganda.
“This is far from Russian propaganda,” Zuroff told Citizen of Ottawa. “These people are neo-Nazis. There is an element of the ultra-right in Ukraine, and it is absurd to ignore it.”
According to the outlet, Canada’s Joint Task Force Ukraine held a briefing in 2017 which acknowledged that “Several members of Azov called themselves Nazis.”
B92.net adds: "Canada has spent nearly a billion dollars ($794 million) to train Ukrainian troops since the 2014 coup when Western-backed nationalists toppled the country’s democratically elected government. The neo-Nazis were the tool of the regime change operation, and the Azov Battalion was subsequently used to quell dissent."
As for the invaders, some analysts are noting now that the West essentially ignored a speech Putin gave in Munich, Germany, in 2007, in which he warned the West against further NATO encroachment into Russia's historic sphere of influence -- which, of course, the U.S.-led West ignored.
"At the Munich Security Conference, Putin launched a furious tirade against the United States as 'the only pole of power' and against NATO expansion. The meeting was shocked by the intensity of Putin's attacks, but rejected them altogether. It was a mistake," columnist Harlan Ullman noted in an analysis for The Hill.