Did he know? BoJo utters motto of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators in anniversary video
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a video greeting to Ukrainians to mark the country’s upcoming independence day, uttered a slogan that was once considered the watchword of Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist camp.
The video was posted on Twitter by the Ukrainian Embassy in the UK on Friday, and features a series of high-profile British political figures reciting the words of “Ukraine,” a song by cultural icon Taras Petrinenko, for the country’s 28th independence anniversary. Topping off the video greeting, however, is PM Johnson, who bellows “Slava Ukraini,” or “Glory to Ukraine” before the British pols finish the slogan in unison: “Heroyam slava” (“Glory to the heroes”).
Though the phrase has enjoyed more common usage in recent years – it was adopted as the official greeting for the Ukrainian Armed Forces and National Police last year – its origins are more controversial.
First cropping up among various armed factions in the country’s war of independence in the early years of the 20th century, the slogan was picked up by Ukraine’s ultra-nationalists during the Second World War, including those who worked in collaboration with Nazi Germany. One of the most prominent groups among them was a break-off cell of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) led by militant Stepan Bandera, who worked alongside the Gestapo and Nazi intelligence agencies.
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The slogan saw a revival during Ukraine’s 2014 ‘Euromaidan’ revolution, in which ultra-nationalist parties – some inspired by Bandera’s OUN – spearheaded street battles with police, and has since come to be accepted among more moderate political figures, including the country’s previous president, Petro Poroshenko, as well as its current leader Volodymyr Zelensky.
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