The growing presence of far-right groups in Ukraine leaves the west in a quandary. The ultranationalists have played a key role in fighting Russia-backed separatist rebels and are now challenging government corruption. But they are pushing for changes that go against democratic ideals

The country’s ultranationalist groups came to the fore in 2014, when they kickstarted massive street protests that led to the ousting of the Russia-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych. Russia responded by annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and backing separatists in the east, moves that drew sanctions rom the west. Thousands of Ukrainian nationalists then headed to the east, forming volunteer battalions that served as a vanguard for the Ukrainian forces in the rebel regions.

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