Putin demands EU joins forces with Russia in severe Nazi crackdown in Ukraine

Putin will ‘push US administration to edge’ says Mike Pompeo

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This comes in response to accusations of the glorification of Nazism in the country. Thousands of far-right activists held a torch-lit march in Kiev to mark the birthday of a controversial Adolf Hitler collaborator, Stepan Bandera.

Reacting to the march, a top Russian legislator called for a pan-European response.

In a Telegram post, State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin condemned the actions of the far-right, calling them “unacceptable”.

He said: “It is unacceptable when, in the 21st century, Nazi leaders are glorified again, those who organized atrocities, were Nazi collaborators, burned villages to the ground, killed elderly people, women, children and babies.”

He called on Brussels to join forces with Russia in condemning the movement, even threatening Ukraine with sanctions.

He said: “What is happening in Ukraine must be condemned by the European Parliament, PACE [the Council of Europe] and the OSCE PA.

“Its leadership must be held accountable for the promotion of nationalism, sanctions must be imposed, everything must be done to stop its resurgence in Europe.”

He added that the country is “increasingly sliding toward a state based on a nationalist ideology”, promising to raise the issue with European lawmakers during upcoming inter-parliamentary meetings.

This comes amid simmering tensions between Russia and Ukraine after Moscow amassed tens of thousands of troops along its border.

Just last week, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell visited the Ukrainian frontline during a trip intended to show solidarity with Kiev.

Mr Bandera was a former leader of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), a group that was aligned with Hitler’s Germany during World War 2.

The nationalist leader, who was assassinated in Munich, Germany in 1959, is regarded by some Ukrainian nationalists as a hero as he fought for the country’s independence during the Thirties and Forties.

But many others view him as a war criminal, as his nationalist forces carried out numerous atrocities against Jews and Poles during the war.

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The OUN carried out thousands of murders, many of whom were civilians, during a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia, killing as many as 100,000 people over the course of two years.

However, Mr Bandera’s legacy has triggered a mixed response from Ukrainian governments in recent years.

In 2010, Mr Bandera was named a “Hero of Ukraine” by outgoing President Viktor Yushchenko but he was later stripped of the title in 2011 under President Viktor Yanukovych.

And when President Yanukovych was ousted in 2014, Kiev’s City Council renamed the city’s Moscow Avenue Stepan Bandera Avenue, to mark the Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine.

Israel also hit out at Kiev’s nationalist march, calling it “insulting”.

In a Facebook post, Israel’s Embassy said: “The glorification of those who supported Nazi ideology insults the memory of the victims of Holocaust in Ukraine.”

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