A 20-year-old American went from inside a neo-Nazi group’s secret chatroom, to traveling to Ukraine looking for war. After a string of sweeping indictments and arrests, court documents have illustrated how the neo-Nazi terror group The Base discussed derailing trains and plotted the assassinations of anti-fascist activists in the United States. But the group also had international ambitions. The Base and its leader wanted to form concrete links between Ukrainian ultra-nationalist military units and the global neo-Nazi movement. And one American connected to The Base had already traveled to the war-torn country in search of wartime experience, VICE has learned. Matthew Ryan Burchfield, a 20-year-old Virginia native, went to Ukraine in the fall of 2019. The affiliate of The Base was seeking to join the conflict in Donbas, multiple confidential sources, online records, social media accounts, and his own admission confirm. (…) According to multiple sources familiar with his plans, Burchfield sought military training and war experience. After considering joining the U.S. armed forces, he traveled to Ukraine instead, looking to join a military unit through a contact. Burchfield confirmed to VICE over Instagram direct message that he traveled to Ukraine intending to fight Russian separatists on the frontline of the war in the east in order to gain enough war experience for future private military contracting work. His display picture on the site is a photo of a nationalist lion statue in Lviv, Ukraine, a symbol some claim is linked to the Galician division of the Einsatzgruppen (SS) death squads. Burchfield admitted he was “a part” of The Base and its encrypted chat room until sometime in November 2019. Throughout last year, he actively used an alias known to VICE to covertly communicate with other members of the terror group. As per its group procedures, Burchfield was vetted by senior members of The Base before he was allowed access to the chat room. He denounced the leader of The Base, known pseudonymously as Norman Spear, after a recent story in The Guardian exposed Spear as a 46-year-old New Jersey native named Rinaldo Nazzaro, currently believed to be based in Russia.

via motherboard: Neo-Nazi Terror Group The Base Linked to the War in Ukraine