Ukrainian fighters from the far-right army regiment known as the Azov Battalion, have sparked outrage online after the National Guard of Ukraine shared a video of them appearing to line bullets with pig grease to use against Russian Muslims from the Chechnya area.
In the video, the masked perpetrator speaking says: “Dear Muslim brothers. In our country, you will not go to heaven. You will not be allowed into heaven. Go home, please. Here, you will encounter trouble. Thank you for your attention. Goodbye.”
The video was branded “hateful content” on Twitter but the social media platform added that “it may be in the public’s interest for the tweet to remain accessible.”
Azovs, known widely for their neo-Nazi ideologies, were first implemented as a faction of the Ukrainian armed forces after they helped defend the east of the country in 2014 against pro-Russia separatists and it seems as if they’re back in full force and with only one target in mind.
The news comes after other instances of racism against Muslims and POC generally, especially in the media, have been brought to light recently.
A senior reporter at CBS sparked outrage after he suggested that Ukraine is more “civilised” than countries in the Middle East such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
On Friday, Charlie D’Agata, who was reporting from the capital city of Kyiv, said that Ukraine “isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades.
“This is a relatively civilised, relatively European — I have to choose those words carefully, too — city, where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen.”
However, after seeing the backlash for his comments, D’Agata addressed his “poor choice of words” during another segment from the Ukrainian capital, which was later posted to Twitter by the official CBS News account.
“I spoke in a way I regret, and for that I’m sorry,” he said, adding that he was trying to convey that Ukraine hasn’t seen “this scale of war” in recent years, unlike other countries.
“You should never compare conflicts anyway, each one is unique… I used a poor choice of words and I apologise for any offence I may have caused.”
This wasn’t the only instance of racism we’ve seen throughout the reporting of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Journalists (and let’s be honest here, it’s been primarily white/European journalists) have taken it upon themselves to blatantly expose their biased narratives, narratives we already knew plagued the media, but the blatant weaponising of it during this particular event has been overwhelming.
During a segment on BBC News, another correspondent, David Sakvarelidze, added more evidence to the idea that only white people deserve sympathy in the face of adversity saying: “It’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed.”
And let’s not forget about Al Jazeera English either.
During their coverage on the channel, a presenter said: “What is compelling about these people is how they’re dressed; these are prosperous, middle class people who obviously are not refugees,” while showing clips of Ukrainians fleeing their country.
An apology was also issued for that.
This poor reporting comes after the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues to dominate the headlines.
Last Thursday, President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in order to demilitarise their neighbouring country. Just shortly after Russian troops stormed the Crimea border, reports of explosions on the outskirts of the cities of Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Mariupol, as well as the capital city of Kyiv have confirmed the news we were all hoping would not come true.
There have been multiple deaths as the war rages on, with some outlets predicting the official stats are around the 600 mark.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are affected by this tragedy.