Ihor Kolykhaiev rebuffed pressure from the Russian television host to reinforce propaganda claims. The Mayor of Kherson refused to engage in leading questions posed by the Russian presenter in an effort to produce content for Russian pro-war campaigns. The frustrated Russian reporter urged the former Ukrainian Mayor to acknowledge Nazi support across his nation.
In a bold act of defiance, Ihor Kolykhaiev, a Ukrainian official trapped in a Russian-controlled city, refused to repeat the host’s outrageous claims.
The Russian television host asked: “Is Shukhevych a hero for you?”
Mr Kolykhaiev swerved the questions: “If a hero title is given to a man by the country this man is a hero for this country.”
The host referred to Roman Shukhevych, a Ukrainian nationalist highly contested in the Donetsk region due to his command of the SS-affiliated Nachtigall Battalion during World War II.
The Russian network continued to pressure Ihor Kolykhaiev to condemn the notable Ukrainian figure: “But is he a hero for you?
“For you, for a person who is looking at the victory flag right now, a flag of victors who destroyed people like Shukhevych.”
The Ukrainian Mayor snapped: “This flag was hung on the Reichstag by the whole Soviet Union.”
The Russian presenter retorted: “It is a victory symbol.
“Who did Shukhevych fight for?”
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Shukhevych remains a highly contested figure in Ukrainian history because of his right-wing views and collaboration with the Nazi Party.
Former President Viktor Yushchenko posthumously conferred Shukhevych the Hero of Ukraine award, a move that left him facing a legal dispute with the Donetsk region.
Russian state-controlled television networks have made damning claims that Ukraine is controlled by Nazi sympathisers.
However, the last general elections in the country in 2019, which awarded victory to current leader Volodymyr Zelensky, saw far-right parties secure less than two percent of the vote.
The Russian media uses this argument to justify Putin’s “special military operation” as an attempt to save Russian-aligned Ukrainians from European Nazi control.
Ihor Kolykhaiev had served as Mayor of Kherson until the city was captured by Russian Forces and a new Mayor, Oleksandr Kobets, was appointed by Russian authorities.