(ReliableNews.org) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to Canada on September 22 to give a speech before parliament. The assembly speaker drew the crowd’s attention to another male who was there. Jewish organizations are now slamming lawmakers and the assembly speaker has apologized.
The conflict began when Assembly Speaker Anthony Rota called lawmakers’ attention to “war hero” Yaroslav Hunka. The 98-year-old man served for the First Ukrainian Division during World War II. The Canadian Parliament applauded the elderly man. Images show Prime Minister Justin Trudeau among those who gave Hunka a standing ovation.
After the parliament honored the man, the Jewish group, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, posted a scathing message on social media. The organization said it was “appalled” that Canadian lawmakers gave a “Ukrainian veteran who served in a Nazi military unit” a standing ovation. They said he was “implicated in the mass murder of Jews and others.”
The First Ukrainian Division was also known as the SS 14th Waffen Division or the Waffen-SS “Galicia” Division. It was a volunteer unit that served under the command of Nazis. They weren’t allowed to fight in the German army because they weren’t Germans. Roughly 600 members of the unit were allowed to live in Canada after the war ended, creating a controversy there. Members of the unit were accused of murdering Jewish and Polish civilians during WWII. In the 1980s, a government commission carried out an inquiry to determine whether the country was protecting war criminals.
The Guardian reported Rota apologized for what happened, saying that he was not aware of the man’s past when he called attention to him. He went on to say other members didn’t know he was going to honor Hunka.
Trudeau’s office released a statement to Fox News Digital pointing the finger directly at the assembly speaker, saying Rota didn’t provide any “advance notice” to the prime minister or Ukrainian delegation about the former soldier’s “invitation or the recognition” at the event.
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