The US has bestowed a prestigious award on a female member of Ukraine’s nationalist Azov battalion
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov. © Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP
The decision by the White House to bestow the International Women of Courage Award on a member of an infamous Ukrainian nationalist battalion is “disgraceful,” Moscow’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said on Thursday. He claimed that the move was further proof that Washington is ready to support Nazis in the fight against Russia.
Speaking to reporters, Antonov was asked to comment on the award received at the White House by Yulia Paevskaya, who goes by the nickname ‘Taira’. The ambassador said Moscow had noted the honoring of a member of the Azov battalion, a Ukrainian unit closely associated with neo-Nazi ideology, on International Women’s Day.
This is a disgrace. It is incomprehensible that Nazis can be celebrated within the walls of the White House.
Antonov described Paevskaya as a “terrorist cutthroat whose hands are covered in the blood of the elderly, women, and children.” In March 2022, as the fighting raged in the besieged city of Mariupol, which is now part of Russia, Paevskaya “pretended to be a mother of two children whose parents she had killed herself,” and then tried to escape disguised in civilian clothing, Antonov stated.
Paevskaya also took part in the Western-backed coup in Kiev in 2014, trained neo-Nazis in the Donbass region, and “committed crimes against civilians,” Antonov claimed. He noted that the Azov battalion bears the symbol of a Nazi Germany SS division.
Antonov asserted that Washington is well aware of all of this information, but “to hurt Russia, the United States is willing to glorify Nazism.” He added that the US authorities should be “ashamed” of themselves for dishonoring the American and Soviet veterans who fought against fascism during World War II.
Paevskaya was captured by Russian forces in Mariupol in March. In June, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced that Kiev had managed to free her from captivity, describing her as a paramedic, but without providing further details.
The International Women of Courage Award is a prize annually distributed by the White House. This year, in addition to Paevskaya, it was bestowed upon 10 other “extraordinary women… who are working to build a brighter future for all.”