Ukraine crisis: the neo-Nazi brigade fighting pro-Russian separatists
Kiev throws paramilitaries – some openly neo-Nazi – into the front of the battle with rebels
By Tom Parfitt
The fighters of the Azov battalion lined up in single file to say farewell to their fallen comrade. His pallid corpse lay under the sun in an open casket trimmed with blue velvet.
Some of the men placed carnations by the body, others roses. Many struck their chests with a closed fist before touching their dead friend’s arm. One fighter had an SS tattoo on his neck.
Sergiy Grek, 22, lost a leg and died from massive blood loss after a radio-controlled anti-tank mine exploded near to him.
As Ukraine’s armed forces tighten the noose around pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the western-backed government in Kiev is throwing militia groups – some openly neo-Nazi – into the front of the battle.