Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has refuted a fake claim of Kremlin propaganda that the Azov Regiment of the Ukrainian armed forces is "neo-Nazi."
In an interview with Greek television channel EPT on May 2, he said that this National Guard formation was part of the Ukrainian army, and has nothing to do with politics.
Zelensky said that during the first Russian invasion in 2014, when the Azov Volunteer Battalion was formed, some of the statements of volunteers were "quite extreme about Russia," but that much has changed since then.
"They were volunteers, and it was their personal view," the president said.
"The Azov Regiment is not a volunteer (formation), but part of the National Guard.,” Zelensky said. “They are (part of) the official army of our state. Anyone who wanted to get involved in politics, (left the Azov Regiment). Those who decided to serve in the National Guard of Ukraine became part of the National Guard of Ukraine."
Zelensky said that there was very little public support for extremism in Ukraine today compared to many other countries.
"We have almost none, despite the fact that there is a war on," he said
"We are very serious about calls for extremism. And we prevent any such steps. We believe that what the Russian military is doing in our country is Nazism."