Ukrainian lawmaker Artyom Vitko, who is on a committee to improve Ukraine-Israel ties, sang a pro-Hitler song in a video that appeared online over the weekend. The footage shows Vitko, a member of Oleg Lyashko’s Radical Party, wearing camouflage fatigues and singing along with a song praising the genocidal Nazi leader.
“Adolf Hitler is with us, Adolf Hitler is in each of us, and an eagle with iron wings will help us at the right time,” say the song’s lyrics. Vitko, the former commander of the Kiev-backed Lugansk-1 Battalion in eastern Ukraine, sings the words and salutes Hitler with a bottle of water.
The video was released just days after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke before the Knesset, apologizing for the role Ukrainian Nazi collaborators played in the Holocaust.
”We must remember the negative events in history, when collaborators helped the Nazis seek the Final Solution,” Poroshenko said Wednesday.
“Following its establishment, Ukraine asked for forgiveness, and I am doing it now at the Israeli Knesset in front of the children and grandchildren of victims of the Holocaust, who experienced that horror first hand,” Poroshenko said. “I am doing this in front of all the citizens of Israel.”
The apology raised extreme nationalist hackles in Ukraine. Oleg Lyashko, the leader of the Radical Party that Vitko belongs to, lashed out at the Ukrainian president for his apologies to Israel, and said that “this kind of humiliation of Ukrainians has not been recorded in our history yet.” Vitko’s video is probably a message that is connected to Lyasho’s.
Chocolate-baron-turned-politician Poroshenko’s visit to Israel was a warm one. Upon meeting President Reuven Rivlin, the Ukrainian said: “Since its independence, your country has faced serious external military threats, in spite of which you have undergone a remarkable transformation. You have propelled Israel to the top in the science, the economy, in military power.”
“Your country stands united, and my country is on a similar path and the same stand. I see my visit to Israel has an opportunity to endorse unbreakable bonds between our nations, and exchange with you about common challenges and ways to overcome them.”