Russia’s supreme court on Tuesday designated Ukraine’s Azov Regiment as a terrorist group, a Reuters correspondent in the courtroom reported.
The Azov Regiment, which has far-right and ultra-nationalist roots, has been one of the most prominent Ukrainian military formations fighting against Russia in eastern Ukraine. Russia has regularly cited Azov in support of its assertion that Ukraine is controlled by “fascists”. Russian state propaganda has compared Azov fighters to World War Two-era Nazis, whose defeat by the Soviet Union remains a core part of Russian national identity.
Previously based in the eastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, many of the regiment’s personnel were captured by Russian forces when the city fell in May after an almost three month long siege. Officials in the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Russian-backed entity which claims Mariupol as part of its territory, said in May that captured Azov Regiment fighters could face the death penalty under the self-proclaimed republic’s laws.
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