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International neo-Nazi and other extremist groups have expressed interest in sending fighters to Ukraine for several reasons. Some groups focus on the benefits of gaining combat experience, saying that the training and materials given to volunteers who travel to Ukraine will be useful in a future civil war in their home countries. A March 21, 2022, post in an American neo-Nazi chat rejected any ideological reasons for fighting in Ukraine, and instead focused on the benefits of gaining combat experience, calling for people to "join a paramilitary so you can learn to make explosives and become a soldier like a boss."
At least 35 neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and antigovernment extremist groups based in North America and Europe have members fighting in the Russo-Ukrainian War. While the majority of such groups are pro-Ukraine, a handful of pro-Russia neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and ultranationalist groups are present in Ukraine.
Pro-Russian neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and ultranationalist groups called for individuals to support the Russian war effort to support the Russian "empire," Orthodox Christianity, and to fulfill their "duty." A Hungarian ultranationalist group posted a call for members to support a neo-Nazi pro-Russia militant group, stating: "Tradition, #Christian religion, Empire! The correct image of Russian propaganda looks exactly like this."
Pro-Ukrainian groups called on members to support Ukraine on ethnic grounds, often referring to Russia as a multiethnic or "mongrel" nation. A March 2, 2022 post by an Australian neo-Nazi quoted a neo-Nazi author stating: "'This conflict is a racial-spiritual one. What it means is that on one side of the battlefield there are Ukrainians who look westward toward Europe as their natural ethno-spiritual epicenter, and on the other side there are Russians — Russians like Alexander Dugin who, in addition to calling for the mass genocide of all Ukrainians, openly admit that their spiritual nucleus lies in the East, amidst the former domains of the great Mongol Empire... The outcome of this War shall determine the destiny of the Aryan species for eons to come. Because, make no mistake about it: THE BATTLE FOR THE HEART AND SOUL OF UKRAINE WILL DECIDE THE FUTURE OF THE ENTIRE ARYAN SPECIES WORLDWIDE. Death to the Eurasianists! Death to all mongrels!'"
Pro-Ukraine groups have established networks to facilitate the arrival of foreign fighters, with some groups establishing their own pro-Ukraine foreign fighter networks. One such group posted a call for "International Volunteers" on March 5, which stated: "For all warriors fighting against commie scum and neobolsheviks in Ukraine. Welcome brothers! ... Best route: Poland-Lviv , main train station. Also might transport from UA-Polish border will be available — please make sure to arrange the pick up point. *DO NOT ARRIVE ON YOUR OWN MIND, ALL FIGHTERS WILL BE CHECKED BEFORE ENTERING UA SOIL. Before arrival — contact via TG [Telegram] to recieve more info." The post included contact information for foreign recruits.
This report covers claims of active participation in the conflict by neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and antigovernment extremist groups on social media, in addition to online discourse on the conflict among notable extremist groups.
Groups active in the conflict but largely devoid of extremist elements are omitted from this report.
North American Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, And Antigovernment Extremists Fight Alongside Pro-Ukrainian Forces
Neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and antigovernment extremists in North America have volunteered to fight with Ukrainian forces for various reasons: to defeat "mongoloid" Russia, gain experience in combat, or to install a "pro-white" government.
The former leader of a U.S.-based accelerationist group announced in an interview published on March 15, that he is fighting for Ukrainian forces against Russia with an unidentified "local militia."
A member of a U.S. neo-Nazi group posted images of himself fighting for a neo-Nazi unit in Ukraine on March 9. The same fighter claimed to have fought for neo-Nazi anti-separatist forces during the Donbas War.
European Neo-Nazi And Ultranationalist Groups Fighting Alongside Ukrainian Forces
Individuals from European neo-Nazi and ultranationalist groups have joined pro-Ukrainian forces in significant numbers. Many have stated their belief that supporting Ukraine will prevent Russia from attacking or threatening the sovereignty of other European states, often claiming to protect "white Europe against Eurasian occupiers."
A European white supremacist Telegram channel posted an image showing a member of a Spanish ultranationalist group on the "front line defending white Europe against Eurasian occupiers" on March 1.
The same channel posted an image of a militant with a flag of an Italian fascist group in Kyiv on March 12.
The first European militant to arrive due to the Russian's assistance was a Polish member of a neo-Nazi group. The militant asserted that he joined the foreign fighter group to "help the brother nation" in an interview that was published march 3.
A European neo-Nazi Telegram channel announced on February 28 that 200 Croats were fighting with a neo-Nazi group and vowed "to fight until the last man."
A video shared on Telegram on March 3 showed a Swedish fighter in fighting with a Ukrainian neo-Nazi group.
A Ukrainian neo-Nazi Telegram channel posted an image on February 27 showing two Russian nationals on the Kyiv front.
An Australian neo-Nazi posted a gallery of three Russian militants declaring that they were en route to Ukraine to fight against Russian forces on February 25.
Pro-Russia Fighters From Neo-Nazi And Ultranationalist Groups
Pro-Russia neo-Nazis and ultranationalists joined the war in Ukraine since the initial insurgency in 2014. However, several groups that were active during the Donbas War do not appear to have a presence on the ground in 2022. Among the neo-Nazi and ultranationalist groups present in 2022 are Russian and European groups, including those from contested separatist republics recognized by Russia.
A Russian-based neo-Nazi Twitter account posted a video on February 26 showing armored vehicles on a dirt road. The text stated: "V • Victory. Kiev will remain Russian – the Empire forever!"
A white supremacist, conflict-tracking Telegram channel posted an image on March 8 showing a militant from an ultranationalist, separatist battalion of the Donetsk People's Republic in a captured BTR-4.
On February 26, a neo-Nazi Russian group posted a recruitment call on its Telegram channel, stating: "Come with us, We're going to Kyiv and Lviv." The post includes a graphic of several militants with balaclavas and carrying small arms.
A pro-Russian white supremacist Telegram channel posted a video of a neo-Nazi battalion in action on February 26. The channel also claimed that "at least 7 poles are in their unit, could be more."
A pro-Ukrainian neo-Nazi Telegram channel posted a mocking "welcome" video on March 18 for a group of ultranationalists from South Ossetia, a breakaway separatist republic from Georgia, showing militants reportedly en route to fight for Russian forces in Ukraine.
On March 20, a Hungarian ultranationalist VK account posted an image showing militants of an imperialist, ultranationalist Russian group aboard a BTR-70 in an unidentified area of Donetsk Oblast.