This August, at the annual Department of Defense Warrior Games at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, comedian Jon Stewart presented the “Heart of the Team” award to a Ukrainian veteran named Ihor Halushka for being “a good example” for his team.
Halushka was a member of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, now part of the Ukrainian National Guard and armed by the United States. When he accepted the award, the ultranationalist wore a sleeve over his left arm, probably to hide his tattoo of the Nazi Sun Wheel or Black Sun.
Jon Stewart And The Pentagon Honor Ukrainian Nazi At Disney World
Since the Pentagon pays for the Warrior Games, it is likely that American taxpayers paid for Ukrainian Nazis like Halushka to travel to Disney World. At least two members of a Ukrainian team of injured veteran athletes flown to Orlando, Florida, have been shown to be members of neo-Nazi groups in their home country. Yulia Palevska and Ihor Halushka were both members of the fascist groups “Right Sector” and “Azov Battalion.”
They are part of a team of forty Ukrainian veterans participating in the Warrior Games. Darius Rucker, the former lead singer of the glorified bar band Hootie & the Blowfish, and liberal comedian Jon Stewart attended this year’s ceremony.
Jon Stewart presented Halushka of Azov Battalion with the “Heart of the Team” award at the end of the ceremony. The emcee said Ihor leads by example and makes his team laugh with his unique sense of humor. Sgt. 1st Class Ihor Halushka is a good example of the spirit and drive that make up Team Ukraine.
When the Nazi received his trophy, Stewart shouted “Ihor!” triumphantly.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine this February, mainstream media outlets such as the Daily Beast, Vox, and Foreign Policy, and even the U.S. government’s propaganda offshoot, Voice of America, claimed that the Azov Battalion supported Nazism.
It was also claimed that Right Sector was a fascist group. However, since the invasion, the Western media has downplayed the fact that there are Nazis in the Ukrainian armed forces. The reason for this is that groups like Azov have become major players on the front lines.
When The Grayzone called Warrior Games communications director Travis Claytor, he would not say who paid for the travel expenses of Team Ukraine and other foreign participants. Claytor said only that the Department of Defense was “not responsible for the costs.” However, “the relationship with each team is different,” he said. The only foreign teams in this year’s competition are from Ukraine and Canada.
Claytor told this reporter he would send an email with a more detailed response but has not yet done so.
“Family Night at Magic Kingdom,” a video on the DoD Warrior Games YouTube channel, shows some members of Team Ukraine having fun at the world-famous theme park.
This year’s Warrior Games will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
Shooting, wheelchair rugby, cycling, powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair basketball, track and field, golf, swimming, sitting volleyball, and archery are just some of the disciplines that will be held.
Team Ukraine is participating in the Warrior Games for the first time. At least 18 gold medals were won by the athletes.
The Ukrainian team consists of the same veterans who participated in the Invictus Games. The Invictus Games were created by Prince Harry after he attended the Warrior Games and saw a similar competition for wounded veterans. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Veterans Affairs, Oksana Gorbach is responsible for both the Invictus Games and Warrior Games teams.
“The Ukrainian Ministry of Veterans Affairs, the Center for Strategic Communications ‘StratCom Ukraine’, the non-governmental organization ‘Invictus Ukraine Games’, the Ukrainian Strongman Association, and ‘Come Back Alive’ are all part of the organizing team of the Warrior Games in Ukraine,” the Ministry of Veterans Affairs website states. The Ministry of Veterans Affairs and StratCom Ukraine are both state organizations, while the others appear to be Ukrainian NGOs.
Grayzone reported that the head of Ukraine’s Veterans Affairs Department attended a neo-Nazi black metal concert featuring several anti-Semitic metal bands in 2019 and promoted the event on Facebook.
At least three members of the notorious ultranationalist fighting group Azov Battalion participated in the Invictus Games, according to a 2017 article that was taken down from a website for the group. Because Azov only gave the competitors’ call signs and didn’t say what their real names were, it is impossible to know if they also competed in the 2022 Warrior Games.