Reuters interviews soldier 'Adolf' in Ukraine
International news agency Reuters has published an interview with a Ukrainian recruit codenamed “Adolf.” The footage is the latest in a long line of videos, photos, and stories linking Kiev’s forces with Nazi ideology.
In a post to Twitter on Friday, Reuters described how “newly recruited servicemen for the Spartan storm brigade” were practicing at an undisclosed location in Kharkov Region. “A serviceman with the nom-de-guerre ‘Adolf’ said they had been trained in ‘first aid, tactics, [and] firing drills’,” the agency added.
In an accompanying video, ‘Adolf’ spoke to Reuters about the drills. A caption identified him by his apparently Nazi-influenced moniker, a title that was also visible on a patch on his vest.
In comments below the video, Twitter users wondered how an agency like Reuters did not notice the obvious reference to Adolf Hitler. “How many times is something like this going to happen before reporters start probing a bit?” documentary filmmaker Jake Hanrahan wrote.
Newly recruited servicemen for the Spartan storm brigade practiced target firing and battlefield first aid in an undisclosed location in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. A serviceman with the nom-de-guerre 'Adolf' said they had been trained in ‘first aid, tactics, firing drills’ pic.twitter.com/5afWPt6CHa— Reuters (@Reuters) April 21, 2023
“Speaking from experience, the number of guys you encounter with straight-up neo-Nazi tattoos/patches/callsign is not small,” CNN and CBC reporter Neil Hauer, who has reported from Ukraine over the last year, commented.
The ‘Spartan’ brigade is one of several new units being hastily assembled by the Ukrainian military ahead of an anticipated counteroffensive against Russian forces. The new brigades will include a replenished Azov regiment, an infamous neo-Nazi paramilitary force that was formally incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard in 2014 before being destroyed by Russian forces in Mariupol last summer.
According to Reuters, some 40,000 new “storm brigade” troops are being trained at the moment. It is unclear if “storm brigades” is a deliberate reference by the Ukrainian military to the Nazi “Sturmbateilung,” or SA, paramilitaries of the 1920s and 1930s, or whether “Spartan storm brigade” is a deliberate nod to “SS Brigade,” referring to the elite Nazi units most responsible for implementing the Holocaust.
Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine last February, countless photographs and videos have emerged of Ukrainian soldiers wearing Nazi regalia, some of which were posted to social media by President Vladimir Zelensky, who is Jewish. In February, Zelensky bestowed the honorary title ‘Edelweiss’ upon the 10th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade of the Ukrainian army. The title was previously used by Nazi Germany's 1st Mountain Division, which took part in the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and raised a swastika flag on Mount Elbrus.