FACT CHECK: Is This Alleged Neo-Nazi The Deputy Commander Of The Kyiv Police?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims alleged neo-Nazi Artem Bonov is the deputy commander of the Kyiv police.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence Bonov is the deputy commander of the Kyiv police.

Fact Check: 

The image shows a shirtless man wearing a swastika necklace and displaying two firearms. “Deputy Head of Police in Kyiv, Artem Bonov has escaped to Poland,” reads text included in the post. “Don’t be turned off by the swastikas. There is no Nazism in Ukraine, because the president is Jewish…”

Bonov is an alleged neo-Nazi and member of the Azov Battalion, an ultra-nationalist unit of the Ukrainian National Guard that has ties to far-right political groups and other right-wing extremists, according to DW.

There is no evidence Bonov is the deputy commander of police in Kyiv. There is no mention of him on the official website of the Kyiv police, which lists all the people in leadership positions. There is likewise no record of him on the Ukrainian National Police website. Bonov did reportedly escape to Poland despite a ban by authorities preventing men from leaving the country, Sputnik reported.

BBC journalist Shayan Sardarizadeh pointed out on Twitter that Bonov has never “held a post in Kyiv police” and that all of the deputy heads can be found online. (RELATED: No, This Photo Of Volodymyr Zelenskyy Holding A Jersey With A Swastika On It Isn’t Real)

Anton Shekhovtsov, an expert on radical groups in Europe and author of “Russia and the Western Far Right: Tango Noir,” told Check Your Fact via email the claim is false. “There is no evidence that Artem Zalesov (‘Bonov’ is a pseudonym) held any senior position of the Kyiv police,” said Shekhovtsov. “There’s a picture of him in a uniform of Ukrainian police which can be explained by the fact that he was in Azov and this military unit was part of the police, so he had this uniform.”

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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