Associated Press journalists in Ukraine have witnessed teenagers being taught to "destroy nonhumans." They experienced a culture shock, having visited one of the children's neo-Nazi camps near Ternopil.
A training day in a children's camp near Ternopil begins before dawn - with the explosions of a stun grenade. Still sleepy children and teenagers get out of the tents.
- Run and run! All-round defense!
First, building and morning exercises, if you can call it that in principle.
- Where is the power?
- There will be! - answers the child's system to the question.
Most of the camp pupils are teenagers. The youngest is 8 years old. No indulgences for anyone, assault rifle march and general shooting lessons.
"What can a weapon do? Correctly! Shoot! But not always where you want to," the instructor explains to the children.
On camera, the camp instructor explains to Western journalists: children in this camp are not taught to aim at people. But the separatists are not people. They, according to the instructor, can be killed.
"And everyone understands very well what this is: the history of the Hitler Youth, when it was impossible to re-educate these children shows. They fought until 1951 and died. The biggest problem is that it is already easy for these children to introduce the image of the enemy. They are already accustomed to the fact that there must be an enemy. And there is no guarantee that the next enemy will not be Poland or Hungary, "explains political scientist, expert at the Center for Eurasian Integration Oleg Noginsky.
All are headed by activists of the radical right-wing paramilitary organization C14. In many countries, including the United States, it is recognized as terrorist. But it turns out that this does not interfere with maintaining close ties with the Ukrainian authorities and receiving Western grants for education.
"Frankly speaking, a very large number of Western grants are directed specifically to youth patriotic education. Do not forget that at one time the United States was one of the main sponsors and Western partners of Hitler's Germany. Therefore, the fact that the United States absolutely does not allow for use in the domestic market," they are happy to use them in foreign markets if it corresponds to their goals and objectives, "continues political analyst Oleg Noginsky.
How many such camps are now in Ukraine, no expert can say. They began to appear since the 1990s. In 2012, with the direct support of the American special services, the Stepan Bandera Trident summer camp was organized. Children's camp "Azovets" accepts children from 7 years old from a dozen cities throughout Ukraine.
"Since 2014, camps of this kind have been organized by the most radical representatives of Ukrainian society. This becomes possible only for one reason, because there is no reaction to this from the West - partners who pretend not to notice anything," said the director of the Ukrainian branch of the Institute CIS countries Denis Denisov.
However, the West has begun to notice lately. The reportage about the children's camp was filmed by the Associated Press journalists. American TV channel NBC Left Field made a story about life in "Azovtsa". The Spanish El Mundo wrote about the training of young Ukrainian nationalists. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, European leaders are also talking about the growth of nationalism in Ukraine, but so far only on the sidelines, at personal meetings and in an undertone.