VICE News obtained a leaked phone call in which the leader, Rinaldo Nazzaro, discussing how the conflict in Ukraine could benefit the group. The leader of the Base, a U.S.-based neo-Nazi terror group, once discussed using the war in Ukraine as a training ground for his organization. The leader of the Base, a U.S.-based neo-Nazi terror group, once discussed using the war in Ukraine as a training ground for his organization. He thought the conflict could serve members of the Base who wanted first-hand experiences at war, who would then return stateside, battle-hardened and ready to share their knowledge with others. VICE News obtained a leaked phone call with the head of the Base, revealed to be 47-year old New Jersey native Rinaldo Nazzaro by the Guardian in January, and other leaders of the terror group, discussing how the conflict in Donbas, Ukraine could aid them in professionalizing the organization and its military tradecraft. “The best way to make use of Ukraine,” said Nazzaro in a fall 2019 phone call, referring to the ongoing war that has lasted more than six years and claimed more than 13,000 lives, “is use it as a resource for our guys who have the ability to travel out there for training, to do it, because they can come back and they can bring that knowledge back to us.” The Base’s discussion of the war in Ukraine as a training platform and part of their ultimate goal of “race war” in the U.S. is evidence of what many terrorism analysts have long feared about the conflict, which already has elements of far-right militants fighting on the frontlines: That it is becoming an insurgent hotbed for neo-Nazism in much the same way past jihadist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda have exploited wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan to transform their extremist movements into violent, global organizations capable of terror attacks. In February, VICE News revealed that 20-year old Virginia native and member of the Base Ryan Burchfield had gone to Ukraine in search of war. After the report, an assistant district attorney in Georgia, in the midst of prosecuting other arrested members of the Base who allegedly plotted the assassination of an antifascist activist, asserted in open court that Birchfield fought for the Right Sector, an ultranationalist militia (with neo-Nazi ties) on the frontline in Donbas. (Burchfield denies this.) The war continues to pit the fledgling government, only just free in 2014 from Russian control, against Kremlin-backed separatists in the east of the country, which are widely accepted to be at least mostly Russian regulars.
Von <a href=”//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:%D0%9B%D1%96%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%BA%D1%96%D0%BD%D0%B3″ title=”User:Ліонкінг”>Ліонкінг</a> – <span class=”int-own-work” lang=”de”>Eigenes Werk</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link – symbolbild