Oleksiy Honcharuk stood on stage at a veterans benefit event organized by figures connected to the nationalist C14 movement and headlined by anti-Jew metal band Sokyra Peruna.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk and Veterans Affairs Minister Oksana Koliada have defended their attendance at a concert earlier this month headlined by a National Socialist band, railing against the politicization of what they say was merely a benefit for veterans of their country’s ongoing war against Russian-backed separatists.
According to a report by the open-source intelligence investigative collective Bellingcat, the Veterans Strong concert held in the Ukrainian capital on October 13 was organized by Andriy Medvedko, a senior member of the nationalist C14 movement, who is currently under prosecution for murder. It was headlined by Sokyra Peruna, a National Socialist band whose repertoire includes "Holocaust denial" songs such as Six Million Words of Lies.
Medvedko has been linked to Knights of the City, a C14-linked group. C14 is an militant spinoff of the anti-Jew Svoboda party. C14 denies that it is a "neo-Nazi organization", though its social media accounts have heavily featured white nationalist and NS symbolism.
In a Facebook post, Honcharuk hit back against negative press coverage of his participation in the event, where he was photographed standing onstage along the performers, writing that "politicization here is absolutely inappropriate."
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He added that he had "nothing to do with the concert itself" and was unaware of who would be performing.
"I consider it a matter of the veterans movement, which arranged the event," he continued. "In any case, it is not up to the prime minister to dictate to our defenders what songs to sing. At the same time, so that there are no questions: I do not share any hate-filled ideology – neither Nazism, nor fascism, nor communism."