In yet another embarrassment for Canada, Russia is now seeking answers from Ottawa after the House of Commons gave a standing ovation to 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka, who is believed to have fought in the Second World War on behalf of a Nazi military unit.
Just after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered an address in the House of Commons on Friday, Canadian lawmakers gave a standing ovation when Speaker Anthony Rota drew attention to him. Rota introduced Hunka as a war hero who fought for the First Ukrainian Division.
This created major havoc in the world as several countries which had faced the brutalities of Nazis condemned the act.
Meanwhile, reacting to the incident, the Russian Embassy in Ottawa said it will send a note to the Canadian Foreign Ministry and the office of the country's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in connection with the appearance of a Ukrainian Nazi, Ambassador to Ottawa Oleg Stepanov told Russian state news agency, TASS.
"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," the diplomat said.
"By honouring a member of this criminal community, the Canadian cabinet and members of parliament violated not only moral but also legal norms," he added.
Canadian House Speaker apologises
Amid widespread criticism, the speaker of Canada’s House of Commons apologized Sunday for recognizing a man who fought for a Nazi military unit during World War II. “In my remarks following the address of the President of Ukraine, I recognized an individual in the gallery. I have subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to do so,” Rota said in a statement.
He added that his fellow Parliament members and the Ukraine delegation were not aware of his plan to recognize Hunka. Rota noted that Hunka is from his district.
It is worth mentioning the development came at a time when Canada has been facing a new low in relations with India after Trudeau alleged link of a Khalistani terrorist with Indian agents.
While addressing the Parliament on September 18, Monday, Trudeau said he had credible information about the involvement of New Delhi in the murder of extremist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar-- a claim that the Ministry of External Affairs denied.
(With inputs from agency)