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.
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.”
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