Russia criticizes Canada
Yaroslav Hunk, 98, was confirmed by lawmakers shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Canadian Parliament.
It appears to be a touching and timely tribute by Canadian lawmakers to a 98-year-old war “hero” who fought for Ukraine’s independence during World War II. But it was soon revealed that the man was actually a member of a notorious Nazi unit, causing outrage when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky received a standing ovation in his presence.
Jaroslav Honka wiped away tears after receiving a standing ovation from Canada’s House of Commons on Friday. Speaker Antoni Rota singled him out, calling him a “hero” after the visiting Ukrainian leader raised his fist to applause.
But Roth apologized Sunday, saying she “found out more” about Honka’s past. The Ukrainian bastard fought against the Soviet Union, but as part of the 14th SS Waffengrenadier Division, “a Nazi military unit whose crimes against humanity were well documented during the Holocaust.” Available,” says the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Canadian human rights organizations raise awareness of the Holocaust and fight anti-Semitism.
The center said in a statement on Sunday that it was “deeply disturbed” by Honka’s recognition in parliament and “even more outraged” by the ovation he received. “The fact that a veteran who served in the Nazi army was invited to parliament and received a standing ovation is shocking,” the statement said. The Honka unit, also known as the 1st Ukrainian Division, “carried out attacks on innocent civilians.” the murder, the level of cruelty and evil is unimaginable.”
The Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, another Canadian-based advocacy group, said it was “deeply disturbed and alarmed.” Michael Mostyn, executive director of the Jewish rights group B’nai Brith Canada, called the invitation and cheers “awesome.”
House Speaker Roth said he was solely responsible for inviting Honka, who lives in the region he represents, meaning neither Zelensky nor Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau knew about it. “I especially want to apologize to the Jewish community in Canada and around the world,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “I take full responsibility for my actions.”
Zelensky, who is Jewish, said members of his family were killed during the Holocaust. NBC News has reached out to his office for comment.
A statement from Trudeau’s office said Roth had apologized and accepted full responsibility. “It was the right thing to do,” the statement said. “The Prime Minister’s Office and the Ukrainian delegation were not notified in advance of the invitation or recognition.”
Honka was applauded not only by Trudeau’s Liberal Party, but also by members of Congress from all parties. The Associated Press reported that a Conservative Party spokesman said the party was not aware of his history at the time.
The Associated Press said Honku could not immediately be reached for comment. Russia seized on the “attack” action
Nazi and far-right ideological issues are particularly sensitive for Ukraine.
One of the vague reasons why Russian President Vladimir Putin has mentioned the invasion of his former Soviet neighbor is that he wants to “denazify” Ukraine, which he says is ruled by Western-backed neo-Nazis. There is little evidence to support this claim. But Russian officials were quick to use Honka’s cheers as evidence of far-right Ukraine and its supporters. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, called the sight “shocking” and accused Canadians of “such a careless approach to the commemoration” at his daily press briefing on Monday.
“Canada has grown up with an entire generation ignorant of fascism and the crimes of the Nazis, and we can see Nazis reborn everywhere, like in Ukraine,” he said.
Russia’s ambassador to Canada, Oleg Stepanov, said inviting the former Nazi to parliament was no accident, calling the Canadian government “essentially the embodiment of neoliberal fascism,” according to Russian news agency RIA. The permanent representative of Russia in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, called it a “shameful day for Canada”, according to the news agency.
Like many other countries, including Russia, Ukraine has some right-wing extremist elements. In particular, the Azov Battalion, which is integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard, has a history of right-wing and white supremacist symbols and beliefs.
Support also continued for prominent World War II nationalist figures such as Stepan Bandera, who was respected by many as a freedom fighter against the Soviet Union, even though he was also a Nazi collaborator. Just before World War II, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, and millions of Ukrainians fought for the Red Army against Nazi Germany. At the time, the country also had one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe, and its population had long suffered persecution and pogroms. When German troops invaded the country in 1941, many Ukrainian nationalists welcomed them as liberators from the Soviet yoke, the World Holocaust Memorial Center announced. “Many Ukrainians and some prisoners of war volunteered to join the German auxiliaries,” it said. This cooperation also extended to the “bullet massacre”: according to the UN, the Germans, together with Ukrainian and Russian volunteers, shot about 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews near their homes, instead of deporting them to refugee camps. National Holocaust Memorial Museum.