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ITALIAN police have arrested several neonazis affiliated with the Ukrainian Azov Battalion fighting against the Russians.
The police arrested five members of the Italian organisation called the Order of Hagal on Tuesday while another member of their gang is still wanted by the authorities.
The remaining gang member, Ukrainian national, Anton Radomsky, is in Ukraine fighting the Russians alongside the Azov Battalion — a neonazi unit within the Ukrainian army.
The group is accused by the Italian authorities of stockpiling weapons and planning to conduct terror attacks against civilian and police targets in the country.
The Azov Battalion was formed in 2014 out of the ultra-nationalist Patriot of Ukraine gang, and the far-right Social National Assembly group.
Both groups engaged in xenophobic and racist attacks against migrants, the Roma community and anyone who opposed their views.
Members of the Order of Hagal reportedly maintained “direct and frequent” contacts over Telegram with not just the Azov Battalion, but also the neonazi Ukrainian military formations Right Sector and Centuria, “probably in the view of possible recruitment into the ranks of these fighting groups,” according to Italian media.
One of those arrested, Giampiero Testa, was reportedly “dangerously close to far-right Ukrainian nationalist groups,” according to the police. He was thought to be planning an attack on a police station in Naples.
While neonazis appear to have found a safe home in the Ukrainian armed forces, the arrests of the Order of Hagal members reveals the potential for blowback from Nato’s proxy war in Ukraine.
“The high availability of weapons during the current conflict will result in the proliferation in illicit arms in the post-conflict phase,” Interpol secretary-general Juergen Stock has warned.
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