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U.S. lifts ban on arms supplies to Azov brigade

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The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has lifted the ban on arms supplies to the 12th Azov Special Forces Brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine.

This was reported by The Washington Post with reference to the U.S. State Department.

After a thorough review, the 12th Azov Special Forces Brigade has passed the Leahy review conducted by the U.S. State Department», — the report said.

The Leahy Act prohibits the provision of U.S. military assistance to foreign units that are known to have committed serious human rights violations. It is named after former Senator Patrick Leahy, its author.

The State Department found “no evidence” of such violations, the statement said. However, the State Department spokesperson refused to say when the ban was lifted or whether U.S. weapons had already been delivered to Azov.

The Azov Brigade, once a volunteer force that became part of the National Guard of Ukraine in 2015, will now have access to the same military assistance from the United States as any other unit.

The publication notes that about a decade ago, Azov was banned from using American weapons because U.S. officials decided that some of its founders allegedly professed racist, xenophobic, and ultranationalist views. UN human rights officials also accused the group of violating humanitarian law.

In early May, a petition to lift restrictions on the transfer of U.S. weapons to Azov gained 25,000 signatures. Prior to that, the President’s Office had twice rejected a petition to transfer Western weapons to Azov.

Earlier, Azov Brigade commander Lieutenant Colonel Denys Prokopenko “Redis” had appealed to the United States to cancel the amendment prohibiting the transfer of weapons from the United States to the Azov Brigade. This amendment has been in effect since 2017 and is still in this year’s defense appropriations bill.

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