POLISH prosecutors said yesterday that they would seek the extradition of a Ukrainian WWII nazi collaborator and war criminal harboured by the United States.
Michael Karkoc was identified last year as a company commander of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defence Legion on the basis of wartime documents, testimony from other members of the unit and his own Ukrainian-language memoir.
Prosecutors with the state National Remembrance Institute have asked the Lublin regional court to issue an arrest warrant, after which an extradition request can be made to Washington.
Prosecutor Robert Janicki said evidence gathered over years of investigations into the the suspect, who he referred to only as Michael K, proved “100 per cent” that he was the man they were seeking.
Witnesses, including a private in Mr Karkoc’s company, have attested that he led the 1944 massacre of 44 men, women and children in the Polish villages of Chlaniow and Wladyslawin in retaliation for the resistance killing of an SS major who led the legion.
Mr Karkoc’s son Andriy called the accusations “scandalous and baseless slanders” and “misinformation or disinformation” by the Russian government, which opposed the 2014 far-right coup in Ukraine.
He accused the US-based Associated Press news agency, which broke the story, of “letting itself be used as a tool for Putin’s fake news.”
But Efraim Zuroff, chief nazi hunter for Jerusalem’s Simon Wiesenthal Centre, applauded the decision.
“It sends a very powerful message, and these kinds of things should not be abandoned just because of the age of a suspect.”
The sheltering of Ukrainian nazi collaborators in the US and Canada after WWII is well documented.