Putin Criticizes Canadian Parliament’s Tribute to Ex-Nazi Ukrainian Veteran

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In a striking comment, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the Canadian Parliament’s standing ovations to honor a Ukrainian war veteran, Yaroslav Hunka, who previously served in Nazi Waffen SS units, as “disgusting.” In his perception, the act vindicated Russia’s determination to “denazify” Ukraine.

Just a month earlier, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had issued a formal apology in response to Anthony Rota, the speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, lauding Hunka before the assembly while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was in attendance. Following the outcry, Rota acknowledged his error and subsequently stepped down.

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Addressing an audience at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, Putin said, “He essentially lumped together Nazi collaborators, SS troops, and the Ukrainian military of today who are fighting against Russia. This only confirms our thesis that one of our goals in Ukraine is denazification.”

It was revealed that Hunka had indeed served under the Waffen SS, Adolf Hitler’s autonomous military corps which enlisted hundreds of thousands of non-Germans during the escalation of World War II. This included thousands of Ukrainian nationalists who perceived the invading German forces as liberators from Moscow’s oppressing hand.

Contradicting Putin’s remarks, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland asserted that the Russian president should not be permitted to exploit what she termed a dreadful mistake by the former speaker. “I would really urge all of us to understand that Russian propaganda is real … and we need to push back very, very hard against everything that Vladimir Putin says and does,” Freeland proclaimed to the press corps in Ottawa.

The incident dovetails into the narrative proffered by Putin regarding his decision to invade Ukraine – said to be grounded in Russia’s objective to “demilitarize and denazify” the nation. Conversely, Kyiv and its allied Western nations label Russia’s moves as an unprovoked act of aggression aimed at territorial annexation.

Ukrainian President Zelenskiy, who himself is Jewish, dismissed Moscow’s allegations of Nazi administration in his country as ludicrous.