Ukrainian President Zelensky posts image of soldier wearing Nazi patch

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Ukrainian President Zelensky posts image of soldier wearing Nazi patch

As Russia celebrated the defeat of Fascists in World War II, President Zelensky of Ukraine shared an image of a soldier wearing an SS patch.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wore a picture of a Ukrainian soldier wearing the death s head patch of an elite Nazi Waffen SS unit on World War II Victory Day. The Ministry of Defense in Kiev posted the picture on his social media, but it was soon removed from his account.

On Monday, the offending item was placed on Instagram and Telegram by Zelensky. A soldier next to an artillery gun wears the death s head or totenkopf insignia of the 3rd SS Panzer Division, a unit of elite Nazi soldiers infamous for committing war crimes and massacres of French civilians and Polish Jews. Zelensky is of Jewish heritage.

Advocacy groups consider the death's head logo a hate symbol used by Neo-Nazis and other white supremacists. While the photo was soon removed, it was also posted to Twitter by Ukraine's Ministry of Defense under a quote by Zelensky, acknowledging May 9 as the Day of Victory over Nazism. In a speech commemorating Victory Day, which marked the defeat of Nazi Germany by the Soviet Union, Zelensky accused Russia of imposing a bloody reconstruction of Nazism on Ukraine.

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the US and its NATO allies for supporting Nazis in Ukraine and described the military operation there as a pre-emptive strike against the aggression. Ukraine is the only country in the world that has openly neo-Nazi militias integrated into its national military, and while these militias were once described by Western media as neo-Nazi, they are now referred to as far-right groups. Since Russian troops entered Ukraine in February, stashes of Nazi munitions have been found in the houses and bases of these militia members, and social media accounts run by the Ukrainian government have posted similar images of soldiers wearing Nazi and far-right symbols.