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Police in Michigan say a woman vandalized two Detroit-area religious centers in hopes people would blame a Ukrainian militia.
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The 35-year-old Clinton Township woman has been charged with spray-painting a Nazi symbol and the phrase “Azov” on a Royal Oak synagogue on April 28. She’s also been charged in a March 15 arson at a Scientology center in Farmington Hills, the Detroit Free Press reported.
A Michigan woman has been charged with vandalizing a synagogue and a Scientology center with Nazi imagery, reportedly in hopes of framing Ukraine’s Azov battalion — a militia commonly derided as sympathetic to Nazis by the Russian government.
Royal Oak Detective Dan Pelletier testified earlier this month that woman told him that she was trying to commit hate crimes that would be blamed on the Azov Regiment, a Ukrainian militia . Russian officials have repeatedly portrayed Azov as a Nazi formation.
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Pelletier said the woman lived in Serbia for two years and returned to Michigan in March. Her family has said she was homeless and has threatened them. The detective said the woman told him that she was trying to commit hate crimes that would be blamed on Azov so people would become angry at U.S. involvement in the Ukraine-Russia war.
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A judge in Royal Oak on Friday ordered the woman to undergo a competency evaluation. The woman’s attorney, Kerry Phillips, didn’t respond to an email from the Detroit Free Press seeking comment on the case.