RPT - Russia Raised Concerns Over Reports Canada's Military Trained Neo-Nazis - Envoy

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 29th January, 2022) Russia expressed concerned over reports that neo-Nazi formations in Ukraine are being trained as part of the Canadian military's Operation UNIFIER, Russian Ambassador to Ottawa Oleg Stepanov told Sputnik.

Stepanov said following the Canadian government's announcement to extend and expand Operation Unifier, he was immediately contacted by the local media.

"I offered them to look at it from two sides. First, over the past few months, the Canadian media themselves have reported that, as it turned out, as part of Operation Unifier, dozens, if not hundreds of fighters of right-wing radical neo-Nazi formations, such as the Right Sector and Azov, were trained in the framework of this operation," the envoy said. "Canadian journalists wondered why, in fact, people who wear swastikas suddenly say in their social networks that they were trained by Canadians as part of Operation Unifier."

Stepanov said Canada's Ministry of Defense reacted reluctantly to reports from the Canadian media, but said "yes."

"They said they have an internal investigation. They are trying to understand how this could happen," he went on to say. "But after that, it was tabooed and there were no further reports on how this investigation was going on, what the results of this investigation were. I expressed concern."

"I say: fascists pass through your Unifier, who then go to the Donbas and kill civilians. Even the Americans imposed sanctions on Azov," he added. "But it turns out that you have Azov fighters undergoing training in your seemingly peaceful training mission. This is one part of our concern."

Moreover, Stepanov continued to say, he offered the Canadian journalists to look at the decision on Unifier from the point of view at what is happening in Ukraine.

"Ukraine is a sovereign country. Do we all recognize territorial sovereignty? Is the east of Ukraine a part of Ukraine, as the Ukrainian government says? Yes!" he said. "You are training Ukrainian military formations as part of the Unifier operation, they do not then dissolve in the air after that. They go to the east of Ukraine and kill other Ukrainians. That is, in fact, even within the framework of this seemingly peaceful, harmless mission, you are preparing some Ukrainians to kill others. How can you explain this to me? And no one gave me an answer."

Stepanov expressed hope, however, that this will somehow reach the Canadian government through the press and there will follow official reaction to this.

"But here the question is that Ukraine is the subject of Canada's domestic politics," he noted. "One and a half million influential wealthy Ukrainian community live there, and everyone is trying to be tough on Russia in public: who will outplay whom, who will speak out more harshly in favor of Ukraine against Russia. This is a self-perpetuating propaganda spin going on here. This is a big problem."