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Ukraine war briefing: Washington clears Azov brigade for US weapons and training

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  • Ukranian placards read Don't Be SilentThe US has lifted a ban on providing weapons and training to Ukraine’s Azov Brigade, which had far-right roots but proved key to the defence of the major port city of Mariupol. Azov was absorbed into Ukraine’s national guard as the 12th Special Forces Brigade and current members reject accusations of extremism and ties with far-right movements. The Russian government has seized on Azov’s origins in its efforts to cast Russia’s invasion as a battle against Nazi influence, though Vladimir Putin’s regime has not substantiated such claims.

  • US law prohibits providing equipment and training to foreign military units or individuals suspected of committing gross human rights violations. The state department said on Tuesday that it found “no evidence” of such violations by Azov. “This is a new page in our unit’s history,” the Azov Brigade said in a statement. “Obtaining western weapons and training from the United States will not only increase the combat ability of Azov, but most importantly, contribute to the preservation of the lives and the health of personnel.”

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