A notorious Portuguese neo-Nazi has been allowed to go to Ukraine and join its Foreign Legion to fight the Russians along with 20 others.
The Portuguese authorities gave Mario Machado and 20 others permission to travel to Ukraine, reportedly to fight in the Ukrainian Foreign Legion against the Russian Armed Forces.
However, Machado is allegedly not planning to join the Ukrainian Foreign Legion at all but an extreme-right militia in Lviv that was not named but is said not to be the Azov Battalion.
It is currently unclear if the 20 others he is reportedly travelling with and who have not been named are also neo-Nazis.
Machado, due to his prior convictions, was required to present himself fortnightly to the Portuguese authorities, but he has been given permission to travel for “humanitarian reasons”.
The magistrate in question wrote: “Given the humanitarian situation experienced in Ukraine and the purposes invoked by the accused for his claim, the accused is permitted to fail to comply with the aforementioned coercive measure while he is absent abroad.”
Machado reportedly announced his trip to Ukraine on Telegram while he was already en route.
The Portuguese Public Prosecution Service announced yesterday (Monday, 21st March) that it will appeal the decision by the judge, who has not been named, in a bid to prevent Machado from taking up arms in Ukraine.
Machado was a founder and leader of the now-defunct, neo-Nazi Frente Nacional (National Front), a former member of Hammerskins Portugal (the local branch of a white nationalist group formed in Dallas, Texas), and the founder and leader of the now-defunct, far-right political movement Nova Ordem Social (New Social Order).
Born in 1977, he was infamously sentenced to four years in prison in 1997 for his involvement in the murder of Cape Verdean-Portuguese man Alcindo Monteiro.
He has also been convicted of numerous other crimes, including racial discrimination and possession of a firearm.
Additional manpower is being welcomed by Ukraine to fight the invading Russian forces, who have occupied swathes of northern, eastern and southern Ukraine but whose advances have so far been sluggish.
It is unclear if Machado’s presence in the country will harm the Ukrainian cause by lending some legitimacy to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s otherwise widely lambasted claim that his so-called “special military operation” is needed to “de-Nazify” Ukraine, whose President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is Jewish.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine violates Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which requires UN member states to refrain from the “use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”.
The UN’s International Court of Justice has ruled Russia’s invasion of Ukraine illegal and has ordered Putin to cease military operations immediately.