By Alexander Rubinstein · Mar 4, 2023
USAID’s Samantha Power joined EU and US officials who rallied at the Lincoln Memorial at a pro-war demonstration organized by a clique of Ukrainian activists that have described themselves as “true Banderites” and “Right Sektor’s Washington DC branch.”
High-ranking Biden foreign policy officials including USAID Administrator, Samantha Power, and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Karen Donfried, observed the first anniversary of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. There, on February 25, 2023, they rallied alongside a band of Beltway-based Ukrainian activists dedicated to honoring and fundraising for ultra-nationalists and war criminals. The demonstrators demanded that the US send F-16 fighter jets to Kiev and “punish Russia” by any means necessary.
Power’s USAID promoted the event with a media advisory that redirected visitors to the rally’s principal organizer, an NGO called US Ukrainian Activists. This was one of two Ukrainian diaspora groups that organized the rally, and both have openly supported far-right elements in Ukraine since the US-backed Maidan coup in 2014.
US Ukrainian Activists was founded by Nadiya Shaporynska, an avowed supporter of neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist militias like the Azov Battalion, whom she has described “heroic defenders of Ukraine.” Shaporynska’s fundraising efforts for extremists groups that were at one point blacklisted by the US Department of Defense have been prolific and very public.
In a video tweeted by Power the day before the rally, Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, is seen giving the USAID Administrator a tour of a local Ukrainian government-funded cultural and business center in DC. Markarova points to a portrait of a woman on a wall and informs Power she is “Nadiya [Shaporynska], a tireless activist here in DC.”
Power and Sahporynska would become officially acquainted the following day, as pro-proxy war demonstrators descended on Washington DC’s National Mall.
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The February 25 rally for Ukraine at the Lincoln Memorial featured prominent US officials on its speaker roster. Alongside Power was Karen Donfried, the Biden Administration’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Donfried spent close to 20 years working at the American and German government-funded German Marshall Fund think tank, leaving her role as its president to join the White House in 2021. Other notable speakers included Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova; District of Columbia Secretary of State Kimberly Bassett; Mark Ordan, chair of the Board of Directors at the US Chamber of Commerce; and the European Union’s Ambassador to the United States, Stavros Lambrinidis.
Also appearing on stage was Paul Grod, president of the Ukrainian World Congress. Grod has made a career out of defending the legacy of Nazi collaborators, and even once petitioned the Canadian government to officially recognize the genocidal Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, or OUN, as ‘designated resistance fighters.” This designation would have funneled Canadian tax dollars directly into the pension accounts of Nazi collaborators.
In 2010, Grod honored the legacy of the Waffen SS Galicia, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists as heroes who fought “for the freedom of their ancestral Ukrainian homeland.” These groups were driving forces behind the genocide in Eastern Europe during World War Two.
Grod’s Ukrainian World Congress hosted the February 25 pro-proxy war rally through its affiliate, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America. His group has declared Stepan Bandera, the Nazi collaborator whose forces slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Jews, Poles, and Soviet prisoners of war, as “the undisputed symbol of Ukraine’s lengthy and tragic struggle for independence.”
Following a series of speeches denouncing Russia and demanding more arms shipments from Washington, demonstrators embarked from the Lincoln Memorial and chanted “Russia is a terrorist state” as they marched to the White House. Next, the war cheerleaders swarmed the Russian Ambassador’s residence in Washington DC to bark indignant condemnations at its facade.
Leading the march after emceeing the rally was Nadiya Shaporynska, the founder of the US Ukrainian Activists NGO and one of America’s leading fundraisers for neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist militias back in her native Ukraine.
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In 2014, after the US helped install a nationalist pro-NATO government in Kiev, Shaporynska co-founded a lobbying group called United Help for Ukraine. Among the organization’s first moves was to organize a protest outside the offices of the now-shuttered RT America newsroom. The following year, Shaporynska founded US Ukrainian Activists, which hosted the February 25 pro-proxy war rally in DC alongside United Help for Ukraine.
Shaporynska’s Facebook posts over the years reveal her enthusiastic support and fundraising for avowedly fascist Ukrainian militias including Right Sektor and its leader, Dymtro Yarosh, the Azov Battalion, the Aidar Battalion, and former Donbas Battalion commander Semen Semenchenko.
In September 2022, Shaporynska held a protest outside of the White House with the wives of Azov fighters that had been captured by Russia. Around the same time, she and her US Ukrainian Activists NGO were openly fundraising for the fascist militia, whom they called “heroic defenders of Ukraine.”
Shaporynska and her activist colleagues were raising money for the Azov Battalion when it was under the leadership of Andriy Biletsky, who outlined the group’s mission as follows: “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade … against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans].”
Shaporynska’s support for the Azov Battalion stretches back years. Under the auspices of United Help for Ukraine, Shaporynska organized a charity concert for Azov and the Aidar Battalion in January of 2015. That same year, Shaporynska and her colleagues posted photographs of themselves clad in the colors of the neo-Nazi Ukrainian Right Sektor movement. They wrote that they were the “Washington DC Right Sector Branch” and that they “support” its leader Dmytro Yarosh.
Yarosh led Right Sector from 2013 to 2015, vowing to lead the “de-Russification” of Ukraine through an armed struggle. He is an avowed follower of the Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.
Yet Azov and Right Sektor aren’t the only group of fascists and war criminals with Shaporynska and company’s full support.
Months after the pro-Azov event Shaporynska threw yet another “charity concert,” this time featuring Georgian warlord Mamuka Mamulashvili as its guest of honor. The warlord would meet with Shaporynska again in 2017 during one of his many junkets to Washington’s Capitol Hill.
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Mamulashvili currently commands the Georgian National Legion foreign mercenary group that is backing Ukraine’s military campaign in its fight against Russia. In April of 2022, Mamulashvili infamously vowed to execute Russian POWs, a war crime that his militia has committed on video throughout the Ukraine conflict.
The zealots behind US Ukrainian Activists and United Help for Ukraine have made no effort to conceal their full-fledged support for Ukraine’s most extremist factions. United Help for Ukraine has even described its co-founder, Tanya Aldave, as a “true banderite,” – in other words, an admirer of the Ukrainian Nazi collaborator Bandera. Today, Aldave’s Linkedin bio lists her as an attorney for the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
These avowedly Banderite activists constantly appear alongside Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, in photos posted to social media, indicating their close working relationship with Zelensky’s government in Kiev. And as the February 25 pro-proxy war rally revealed, they have also forged an alliance with top level Biden administration foreign policy players like Samantha Power.
Alexander Rubinstein is a staff writer for MintPress News based in Washington, DC. He reports on police, prisons and protests in the United States and the United States' policing of the world. He previously reported for RT and Sputnik News.
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