Far right-winger from Tarragona enlists in Ukraine's Nazi battalion
Miguel, a 23-year-old resident of Segur de Calafell, was arrested for giving a rabbi a Nazi salute
Barcelona"My name is Miguel and I am from Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain". This was the introduction a 23-year-old who has travelled across Europe to enlist in the Azov battalion, the neo-Nazi military grouping fighting against Russia in the Ukrainian war, gave CNN Portugal. "Have you been to the front?" the Portuguese journalist asks the young man, and he replies, "No, negative". The man admits that he has never fought and has only received brief military training from Azov soldiers: "They have been teaching me. They are good comrades and teach quickly and I learn quickly. I haven't had any problems," he says.
This is Miguel Faro Salmerón, a resident of Segur de Calafell who presents himself as a lover of history, which he studies on his own, his former classmates recall. Currently he has no job and when he saw an option to joining the fight against the Russians he did not think about it twice. On March 5 he took the first plane to Krakow (Poland) and informed his parents when he had already started his journey. His goal: "To fight for the Ukrainian people and for the West, so that no more countries fall into Putin's hands". His unit is the controversial Azov battalion, with neo-Nazi sympathies. And it seems no coincidence.
The young man from Tarragona was already known in his area, after he stunned all his high school classmates during an end-of-year trip. "We went to Budapest and during the visit to a Jewish cemetery he wore a T-shirt of a Hungarian extreme right-wing political party," explains a person who also participated in that trip. When they visited a synagogue the scene was repeated. "The rabbi told him off and he responded with a Nazi salute," the same source explains. The rabbi called the police, who arrived promptly and detained the young man, who was overage, until the following day.
There were only a few days left of school and his friends distanced themselves from him as a result of these events, according to the same source. They lost track of him until, a couple of days ago, they saw him on social network, dressed as a soldier and enlisted in the Ukrainian army.
The Nazi battalion
The Azov battalion was born as a paramilitary group during protests against the pro-Russian government in Ukraine in 2013. Initially, it was made up of Dynamo Kyiv ultras with experience in street fighting. It also fought against the independence of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk (in the Donbass, near Russia) and received recognition from the country's government, which made it an official battalion. Volodymir Zelenski's government made it part of the National Guard hoping to have greater control over it. Now, after the invasion, this battalion is one of those fighting against Russia with the help of the EU and the United States. In addition to defending their country, many of its members feel called upon to fight against Russia, whom they still identify with the Soviet Union. "Duty is duty, and you have to do what you have to do," the young man said during the interview.
Like him, some 20,000 people from 52 different countries and ideologies have enlisted in the Ukrainian troops, according to the country's government