Petro Poroshenko, the staunchly pro-NATO president of Western ally Ukraine, posed for a photo op with a soldier wearing a Nazi symbol.
On December 6, the Ukrainian billionaire oligarch leader posted a photo on multiple social media accounts that shows him standing with armed troops. One of these Ukrainian soldiers is wearing a patch with a skull-and-bones design called the totenkopf. This is a symbol closely associated with Nazi Germany, and specifically the Third Reich’s genocidal paramilitary the Schutzstaffel (SS).
This photo op came while Poroshenko is imposing martial law and requesting a NATO military buildup in the Black Sea.
The monitoring group Defending History, which tracks neo-fascism and Nazi Holocaust revisionism in Eastern Europe, called attention to this photo:
Poroshenko posted this photo on both his official Twitter profile and Facebook page.
In a follow-up tweet, Poroshenko also wrote “Slava Ukrayini!” This is a Ukrainian nationalist slogan that was created in the 1920s by fascists who later became Nazi collaborators. In August, Ukraine made this fascist salute into the official greeting of its military. It was later also adopted by Ukrainian police.
This is not the first controversy linking Poroshenko to a Nazi symbol. In July, one of his advisers wrote on Facebook the neo-Nazi symbol “1488,” which combines the white supremacist “14 words” with code for “Heil Hitler.”
The Grayzone Project has previously reported on how the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion was incorporated directly into Ukraine’s National Guard, and how the United States has armed and advised these fascists.
In late November, Poroshenko’s government declared martial law, after a questionable skirmish with Russian military. This decree gives the government the authority to curtail elections, expression, movement, meetings, and strikes.
Following the incident, Poroshenko requested a major NATO military presence in the Black Sea, along with more weapons and an expansion of sanctions against Russia. The billionaire chocolate oligarch turned president has previously taken steps for Ukraine to join NATO.
The Grayzone Project also recently reported on how US-funded fascists in Ukraine have trained American white supremacists.
In October, an activist from the violent Ukrainian neo-Nazi gang C14, who collaborated with Kiev police to “purge” citizens from the Roma ethnic minority, spoke at the US government-funded America House Kyiv.
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Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton
Featured image is from Grayzone Project