While a protest honoring a Waffen-SS unit held in Kiev sparked an uproar in Israel and Russia, both diplomacy and the Ukrainian presidency condemned the rally.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry issued a short statement condemning the controversial parade honoring the memory of the 14th “Galician No. 1” SS Division, or “Galicia” Division, held in Kiev on April 28.
“The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry strongly condemns any glorification of the Waffen-SS troops. We would like to remind you that the propaganda of totalitarian regimes, in particular the Nazi regime, is strictly prohibited in Ukraine ”, we read.
“In a week, Ukraine will commemorate millions of Ukrainians and people of other nationalities murdered by the Nazis. We must ensure zero tolerance on the part of the Ukrainian state and society in the face of any justification for Nazi crimes ”, further stipulates the text dated April 30.
“The defeat of Nazism was a victory for our people,” the Ukrainian presidency said in a separate statement, condemning the demonstration. Volodymyr Zelensky also announced that an investigation had been requested from the Interior Ministry to bring to justice “all those who broke the law”.
“The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has already expressed its condemnation of any glorification of the Waffen-SS troops and recalled that the propaganda of totalitarian regimes is prohibited in Ukraine. Our partners have already been informed that violations of Ukraine’s legislation will have logical consequences for whoever is guilty, ”he further assured.
An insult to the dead of the USSR, according to Russia
The parade of a few dozen people carrying the flags of this division, composed mainly of Ukrainian fighters, had aroused strong reactions internationally.
“Unfortunately, neo-Nazi actions are gaining in importance, becoming more and more frequent and aggressive. The followers of the Nazi-fascist ideology in Ukraine believe they are assured of total impunity and even of the support of the authorities of the country ”, declared in particular the spokeswoman of the Russian diplomacy Maria Zakharova on April 29th.
“This official Kiev policy is an insult to the memory of the peoples not only of Russia and Ukraine, but also of the former Soviet Union, whose soldiers gave their lives for the future of future generations, including the citizens of the United Kingdom. ‘Current Ukraine,’ the diplomat said.
The demonstration was condemned by the ambassador from Germany to Ukraine and provoked strong protests from Israeli diplomacy. Few reactions were however noted in the European Union and the United States, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to visit Ukraine in May. The visit of the head of American diplomacy aims to “reaffirm the unwavering American support for Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of the current aggressiveness of Russia,” spokesman Ned Price said in a statement on April 30. .
Similar tributes had already been organized in the past under the presidency of Petro Poroshenko in the city of Lvov (west). More recently, in January 2020, several thousand Ukrainian nationalists marched through the streets of Kiev to celebrate the memory of Stepan Bandera who notably led the UPA, responsible for the massacre of many civilians at the end of World War II.