Businessman and GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy faced controversy during a recent Republican debate when he appeared to label Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “Nazi.”
Ramaswami criticized Ukraine as undemocratic and suggested that it did not deserve American aid. However, his campaign later clarified that he had misspoke and was referring to an incident in Canada, where MPs applauded a 98-year-old former Waffen-SS Galicia Division fighter following Zelensky’s speech.
Ramaswamy’s spokesperson, Tricia McLaughlin, explained that he had lost his words while trying to reference the controversial moment in Canada.
The September event included Zelensky inviting former Waffen-SS Galicia Division soldier Yaroslav Hanka to address the Canadian Parliament. Hunka’s appearance sparked controversy and led to the resignation of the then Speaker of the House of Commons, Anthony Rota, who admitted his mistake in identifying the former soldier.
While Ramaswamy’s spokesperson insisted that he was not calling Zelensky a Nazi but was referencing the Canadian incident, critics argued that his comments played a role in Russian propaganda.
Russia has falsely labeled the Ukrainian government and its leaders as Nazism, using the term “denazification” to justify its invasion of Ukraine.
Retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis criticized Ramaswamy for repeating “outrageous Kremlin talking points” and Garry Kasparov, a Russian chess champion and human rights activist, suggested that Ramaswamy may be a “Ukrainian secret agent” working to assassinate pro-Putin MAGA propagandists. Parodying.
Former Trump White House official Elissa Farrah Griffin condemned the comments as offensive and accused Ramaswamy of contributing to rising global anti-Semitism.