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 U.S. 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 U.S. Ukrainian Activists. This was one of two Ukrainian diaspora groups that organized the rally which have openly supported far-right elements in Ukraine since the U.S.-backed Maidan coup in 2014.
U.S. Ukrainian Activists was founded by Nadiya Shaporynska, an avowed supporter of neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist militias like the Azov Battalion, whom she has branded “heroic defenders of Ukraine.” Shaporynska’s fundraising efforts on behalf of extremists groups which were at one point blacklisted by the U.S. 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 U.S., Oksana Markarova, is seen giving the USAID Administrator a tour of a local Ukrainian institution. Markarova points to a portrait of a woman on a wall and informs Power she is “Nadiya [Shaporynska], a tireless activist here in DC.”
The incredible Ukrainian spirit of bravery and resilience was palpable this weekend at the Lincoln Memorial where I had the chance to join Ambassador @OMarkarova, members of the Ukrainian American community and so many others to mark one year of the war in Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/V5dYHXJJRP
— Samantha Power (@PowerUSAID) February 27, 2023
Power and Sahporynska would become officially acquainted the following day, as pro-proxy war demonstrators descended on Washington DC’s National Mall.
Top Biden foreign policy officials join defenders of Nazis at Lincoln Memorial
The rally would have been unremarkable if it were not for it being the anniversary of the invasion and for the big names on the speaker roster.
Power was joined by 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, departing as its president to work at 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 U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the European Union’s Ambassador to the United States, Stavros Lambrinidis.
Appearing on stage alongside these officials was Paul Grod, president of the Ukrainian World Congress. Grod has made a career out of defending the legacy of Nazi collaborators, having 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, chanting “Russia is a terrorist state” as they made their way to the White House. Next, the marchers 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 U.S. Ukrainian Activists NGO and one of America’s leading fundraisers for neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist militias back in her native Ukraine.
DC pro-proxy war rally led by enthusiastic promoter of Nazi battalions
In 2014, after the U.S. helped install a nationalist pro-NATO government in Kiev, Shaporynska helped found a pressure group called United Help for Ukraine. Among the organization’s first moves was a protest outside the offices of the now-shuttered RT America newsroom. The following year, Shaporynska founded U.S. 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, Shaporynska and her U.S. 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].
Under the auspices of United Help for Ukraine, Shaporynska helped organize a charity concert for the Azov and Aidar Battalions. That same year, Shaporynska and her colleagues posted photographs while 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” with the Georgian warlord Mamuka Mamulashvili, who now commands the Georgian National Legion foreign mercenary group. Mamulashvili was listed as U.S. Ukraine Activists’ guest of honor.
In April 2022, Mamulashvili vowed to execute Russian prisoners of war, a war crime which his militia has committed on video in Ukraine. The warlord would meet with Shaporynska again in 2017 during one of his many junkets to Washington’s Capitol Hill.
The activists behind U.S. Ukrainian Activists and United Help for Ukraine have made no apparent 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 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
These avowedly nationalist activists appear constantly in photos posted to social media alongside Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, indicating a close working relationship. And as the February 25 pro-proxy war rally revealed, they have also forged an alliance with top level Biden administration foreign policy hands like Samantha Power.