Ukraine Azov battalion denies neo-Nazi association

Ukraine's Azov battalion has been the main force defending the city of Mariupol.
The group has a reputation for fighting fiercely, but it has also said to hold far-right views.
In 2016 the United Nations accused it of violating international humanitarian law.
In 2019, 40 US congress members unsuccessfully tried to designate the Azov as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin referenced the presence of such units within the Ukrainian military as one of the reasons for launching his so-called “special military operation - to de-militarise and de-Nazify Ukraine”.
The unit has denied it adheres to Nazi ideology as a whole, but Nazi symbols such as the swastika and SS regalia are rife on the uniforms and bodies of Azov members.
The Azov battalion understands it has a neo-nazi image problem but to change it will require support from the rank and file, many of whom are suspected of having far-right links.

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan reports from the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

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