Russia to seek clarification from Canada over honour to Nazi veteran

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OTTAWA: Russia will seek a clarification from Canada over the honour accorded in Canadian Parliament to a Ukrainian Nazi who served in one of the units of Adolf Hitler’s Waffen SS during the Second World War, TASS reported on Monday.

Russian state-owned news agency TASS cited Russian Ambassador to Ottawa, Oleg Stepanov, to state that the Russian embassy in Ottawa will send a note to Canadian Foreign Ministry and PM Justin Trudeau’s office seeking a clarification on the issue.

“The embassy is sending a note to the Canadian Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s office demanding clarification. The SS is recognized as a criminal organization by the decisions of the Nuremberg Tribunal, which are an integral part of international law. By honouring a member of this criminal community, the Canadian cabinet and members of parliament violated not only moral, but also legal norms”, the diplomat said.

On September 22, during Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s speech in Canada’s Parliament, 98-year-old Ukrainian Yaroslav Hunka, who served in the first Ukrainian division, also known as the SS division “Galicia” during World War II, was honoured by the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada.

The Speaker of Canada’s parliament, Anthony Rota, hailed Hunka as “a Ukrainian Canadian war veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians” and “a Ukrainian hero and a Canadian hero”.

Earlier today, Canada’s Leader of Opposition Pierre Poilievre criticised Justin Trudeau, alleging the latter personally met with and honoured the Ukranian and demanded an apology from Trudeau over the matter.

Taking to X, formerly known as Twitter, Poilievre said Liberals arranged for the Nazi veteran to be recognized on the floor of the House of Commons during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to Canada this week.

He called it an “appalling error” in judgment on the part of Trudeau, whose office is responsible for arranging and vetting all guests and programming for state visits of this kind.

In a post shared on X, Pierre Poilievre stated, “It has come out today that Justin Trudeau personally met with and honoured a veteran of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (a Nazi division). Liberals then arranged for this Nazi veteran to be recognized on the floor of the House of Commons during the visit of the Ukrainian President”.

Canada’s Leader of Opposition said, “No parliamentarians (other than Justin Trudeau) had the opportunity to vet this individual’s past before he was introduced and honoured on the floor of the House of Commons. Without warning or context, it was impossible for any parliamentarian in the room (other than Mr. Trudeau) to know of this dark past. Mr Trudeau must personally apologize and avoid passing the blame to others as he always does”.

Poilievre made the statement in response to a post shared by Canadian-based human rights group organisation Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center’s (FSWC) on X. “FSWC is appalled that Canada’s Parliament gave a standing ovation to a Ukrainian veteran who served in a Nazi military unit during the Second World War implicated in the mass murder of Jews and others”, the group said.

Describing the act of honouring a former Nazi soldier in Canada’s parliament as “disgusting”, the ambassador of Russia to India, Denis Alipov, has said that apologies for ignorance are absolutely ridiculous. The envoy, in fact, called Canada a “safe haven” for the Ukrainian Nazis in his post on social media platform X.

Alipov said, “Canada has been and remains a safe heaven for Ukrainian Nazis and not only them. Apologies for ignorance are ridiculous while standing ovation tells it all”. “Thank God Zelensky’s grandfather does not see what his grandchild has become. Disgusting!” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Anthony Rota, Speaker of Canada’s House of Commons, has apologised to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world.

In a statement, Rota said, “On Friday, September 22, in my remarks following the address of the President of Ukraine, I recognised an individual in the gallery. I have subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to do so. I wish to make clear that no one, including fellow parliamentarians and the Ukraine delegation, was aware of my intention or of my remarks before I delivered them”.

He further said, “This initiative was entirely my own, the individual in question being from my riding and having been brought to my attention. I particularly want to extend my deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”

On Friday, Zelenskyy addressed the Canadian Parliament and said that Russia’s aggression must end with Ukraine’s victory. He offered repeated thanks to Canada for its continued support of Kyiv. Zelenskyy was accompanied by Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska. They received a standing ovation upon arrival in the House of Commons.

In his address at the Canadian Parliament, Zelenskyy said, “This Russian aggression must end with our victory so that Russia will never bring back genocide to Ukraine and will never ever try to do so, Moscow must lose once and for all and it will lose”. (ANI)

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