UK MPs applaud Ukrainian neo-Nazis

Members of Azov were greeted as heroes in London

British MPs clap for members of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi ‘Azov’ brigade in London, May 22, 2024. ©  X/azov_media

British lawmakers cheered a delegation of the notorious Azov Ukrainian military unit at a roundtable in Parliament on Wednesday, while former Prime Minister Boris Johnson called them “heroes.”

The neo-Nazi militia was founded in 2014 by white supremacist Andrey Biletsky, who designed its logo with symbols once used by the SS. It was eventually integrated into the Ukrainian armed forces, while retaining its Third Reich iconography. The battalion has been accused by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the UN of multiple human rights abuses, including rape and torture of civilians.

Three members of Azov visited London and spoke before a group of parliamentarians. Lieutenant Arseniy Fedosiuk and Ruslan Serbov had been captured in Mariupol in 2022, while the third, Sergeant Vladimir Vernygora, joined the unit in 2023. 

Lieutenant Arseniy Fedosiuk, Sergeant Vladimir Vernygora and Ruslan Serbov of Azov, London, May 22, 2024. ©  X/azov_media

Fedosiuk and Serbov were presumably among the Azov members Russia handed over to Türkiye on condition they not return to Ukraine until the end of the hostilities. Ankara later violated those terms and sent them back to Kiev.

During the parliamentary roundtable, the trio of Ukrainian militants spoke about the 900 or so Azov members still being held prisoner by Russia.

Azov, which is banned in Russia as an extremist organization, posted photos of the meeting on its X (formerly Twitter) account, thanking the sponsors of their parliamentary visit. 

Members of the Azov unit speak to the UK Parliament, London, May 22, 2204. ©  X/azov_media

The event, they said, was chaired by Victoria Prentis MP, attorney general of England and Wales. The two other MPs they thanked by name were Sir John Whittingdale, former minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure; and Bob Seely MP, chair of the UK-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group. All three are from the ruling Conservative Party.

Fedosiuk, Serbov and Vernygora also posed with former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who famously visited Kiev in April 2022 to torpedo any possibility of a peace deal between Ukraine and Russia.

Johnson was photographed with the trio while holding an Azov banner featuring the Wolfsangel symbol once used by the Waffen-SS Division Das Reich and several Wehrmacht units during WWII.

A video making the rounds on social media shows Johnson speaking at a reception for the Azov militants, urging the British government to give Ukraine whatever it wants – money, missiles, and air defenses.

“The single best investment that we can make in the defense of the whole Euro-Atlantic area is supporting Ukrainian heroes,” Johnson is recorded as saying. Former British Defense Minister Ben Wallace was also present at the event.