A new assassination attempt shook Russia last week, targeting a prominent civilian figure — this time, writer Zakhar Prilepin, whose car was blown up in Nizhny Novgorod region.
The hit, which Prilepin survived, is reminiscent of the incident that killed political scientist and activist Darya Dugina last year near Moscow, and also the bombing that targeted military blogger Vladlen Tartarsky and leveled a Saint Petersburg café. These attacks are similar to those routinely condemned by the West when they’re committed by jihadists. But Western officials’ clear lack of interest in identifying or denouncing the perpetrators of these incidents speaks volumes.
And speaking of sabotage, who’s responsible for launching the drone that blew up over the Kremlin last week? The shrug from Washington is deafening. Classified US documents leaked online last month already fingered Ukrainian agents who “pursued drone attacks inside Belarus and Russia, contrary to US and Western wishes, and leaders in Kyiv have considered further targets outside Ukraine,” according to NBC News. Yet when asked about the incident by the Washington Post, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the incident should be taken with “a very large shaker of salt” – as though US officials weren’t already fully aware of the general intention to pursue precisely such attacks. But Western officials constantly play on plausible deniability. What enables them to do so is their insistence on distinguishing between Ukraine the country, on one hand, and pro-Ukrainian agents and groups on the other.
There sure is a lot of sabotage against Russia happening right now. Some is attributed to Ukraine directly, as France’s Le Monde did recently in the wake of the bombing of a train in Bryansk. Other acts, like the attack on the Nord Stream pipeline network – a centerpiece of Russian-European economic cooperation – have been described by US officials as being perpetrated by undefined “pro-Ukrainian” groups.
Any distinction is really just a minor detail considering that NATO allies can’t even be bothered to make it themselves when it might suit them. They knowingly trained Azov battalion neo-Nazis, as Canada’s Ottawa Citizen and other Western media have documented. Those soldiers had ultimately been folded into the Ukrainian army and their background was conveniently whitewashed.
The security threat that the US and its allies are fomenting in Europe is reminiscent of their actions in Syria. They trained and equipped “moderate” Syrian rebels in a failed attempt to overthrow President Bashar Assad, and many of these fighters ended up joining al-Qaeda.
The West risks creating an international terrorist Disneyland in Ukraine like it did in Syria. Back in 2018, French intelligence services worried about the return of French jihadists from Syria and the impact of retuning fighters on French and European domestic security. Do they have the same fears about returning fighters from Ukraine?
Just last month, a couple of French men, reportedly in their 20s, got off a bus in Paris from Lviv, Ukraine, were arrested, went straight to court, and have already been sentenced to 15 months in prison (with nine of those being a suspended sentence).
In French justice terms, that means they were caught red handed. All this happened so whiplash fast that if you blinked you would have missed it. So who are these guys exactly? Well, French intelligence certainly knows. They’ve reportedly been tracking these two specifically for a while now. One is identified unofficially in French mainstream media as “Alain V” and was previously featured in a press report on neo-Nazis in the French army. He was in the military’s alpine hunter division, so he’s probably a great skier. Maybe he was just over in Ukraine for some skiing with the “Snow ISIS” neo-Nazis mentored by the West.
The suspect reportedly also has a tattoo in German of the Schutzstaffel loyalty pledge to Adolf Hitler and is said to have written on Facebook in 2018 that migrants should get a “good bullet in the back of the head.” So he was already on the authorities’ naughty list even before he allegedly went to Ukraine with his pal, whom we know little about, but whose identity in various French sources has been unofficially floated as “Guillaume A.”
After arriving back in Paris, these two were promptly arrested for what’s being described as prior admission of guilt for transport and possession of weapons, some of which they also seem to have managed to get onto the bus, having been allegedly caught outright with assault rifle magazines.
Is this just the tip of the iceberg of a much larger threat to Europe? According to France’s domestic intelligence service, the DGSI, about 400 French citizens are fighting in Ukraine, including an estimated 30 known neo-Nazis.
All this might come as a real shock to the Western establishment that keeps arguing that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special military operation objective of denazification is nothing but fake news, and issuing fact checks to that effect, saying that the notion of neo-Nazis in Ukraine is just Russian propaganda. They’d just better hope that with all the weapons and training that the West has dumped into Ukraine, any potential blowback on Europe also stays nothing more than a mere figment of the imagination. But whether they’re ignorant, naive, or reckless, you’d think that this incident would serve as a wake up call.