Pyotr Poroshenko wore the Sonnenrad, or ‘Black Sun’ symbol, on his shoulder when visiting troops
Pyotr Poroshenko, the former president of Ukraine, was photographed wearing a symbol created by the Nazis, when he met Ukrainian troops last week.
The politician, who was defeated by incumbent President Vladimir Zelensky in the 2019 election, regularly posts images showing himself weaning military-style fatigues and meeting soldiers and officers.
He usually brings with him various supplies, such as quadcopter drones, household equipment or even armored vehicles, to showcase his personal contribution to the war effort against Russia.
The images posted on his social media accounts last Saturday show him wearing a military patch with the so-called Black Sun, or Sonnenrad. It originates from Nazi Germany and is extensively used by various neo-Nazi groups around the world.
The infamous Ukrainian military unit, the Azov Batallion, for example, featured the Sonnenrad in its original insignia but later removed it as it whitewashed its far-right origins.
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The controversial patch appears to come from the 36th Marine Brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces. An earlier report by the ex-president includes a photo of him clapping hands with Valery Prozapas, a member of Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party and a captain serving in the 36th brigade who wore an identical emblem.
The 10th Mountain Assault Brigade, which Poroshenko was visiting while sporting the patch on his jacket shoulder, is called ‘Edelweiss,’ after Zelensky formally assigned the designation to the unit in February.
The Ukrainian military denies that the name has anything to do with the Nazi-era 1st Mountain Division of the Wehrmacht, which is notorious for the war crimes its troops committed on the Eastern front and used the Edelweiss as an insignia.
The prevalence of neo-Nazi sympathizers among Ukrainian troops after the 2014 coup in Kiev has been thoroughly documented by researchers. Howeverr, this has been largely ignored by the Western media since the hostilities between Russi and Ukraine broke out last year.
Zelensky decorates military unit with ‘Nazi’ title
The New York Times argued in June that the popularity of Nazi symbols in Ukraine was a “thorny issue” that is not indicative of the ideology of people brandishing them.
Moscow, on the other hand, has called the empowerment of far-right nationalists in modern Ukraine one of the key reasons for the ongoing conflict.
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