Canadian parliament applauds Nazi Waffen SS veteran (VIDEO)
Ukraine’s president and Canada’s prime minister greeted a former member of the infamous SS 1st Galician Division, which fought for the Nazis in World War II, as they attended a parliament session in Ottawa, according to images shared by the Associated Press.
One of the photos, taken in the House of Commons on Friday, showed a smiling Vladimir Zelensky clenching his fist and Justin Trudeau offering applause to somebody outside the image.
AP’s caption explained that the two leaders “recognize Yaroslav Hunka, who was in attendance and fought with the First Ukrainian Division in World War II before later immigrating to Canada.”
What the US news agency described as “the First Ukrainian Division” was in fact the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, also known as the 1st Galician Division.
⚡🇨🇦#Canada - AP News confirming that the 98-year old veteran given standing ovation by Canadian parliament, is Yaroslav Hunka, who fought for the 14th division of the Waffen SS (SS Galicia Division).Canadian #parliament gave a standing ovation to an outright Nazi collaborator.… pic.twitter.com/eTFniAIKMP— X News Monitor (@xNewsMonitor) September 24, 2023
Similar images have been shared by AFP, which described Hunka, aged 98, as a “Canadian-Ukrainian war veteran.”
Videos from parliament also showed MPs giving a standing ovation to the former Nazi unit fighter.
🇨🇦🇺🇦 Listen to this reporter commenting on Zelensky's visit to Canada...She says the veteran receiving standing ovation fought against Russians in Second World War.Yes, because the 98 year old "veteran" is Yaroslav Hunka, who fought for the 14th division of the Waffen SS. pic.twitter.com/FxAeL4WeG2— skadefron (@skadefron) September 23, 2023
The 1st Galician Division was assembled the Nazis in 1943, when the Soviet Union was gaining the upper hand on the Eastern Front. It comprised some 80,000 volunteers, mainly Ukrainians, from the region of Galicia, spanning what is now southwest Poland and western Ukraine.
The infamous unit participated in brutal anti-guerrilla operations across Poland and Soviet Ukraine, and were accused of massacres and other atrocities against the Polish, Jewish and Russian civilian populations. It was crushed by the Red Army in July 1944 and soon rebranded as the Ukrainian National Army, before surrendering to the Western Allies after the fall of Berlin in May, 1945. After the war, some of the members of the 1st Galician Division fled to Canada, which has a large Ukrainian diaspora.
During his speech to the Canadian Parliament, Zelensky said Canada has always been on the “bright side of history” during previous wars, and thanked Trudeau’s government for the support it has provided to Ukraine amid the conflict with Russia.
In late August, Zelensky posted an image on social media, featuring a Ukrainian soldier sporting the patch of the 1st Galician Division. Kiev’s troops have also been spotted wearing patches of the notorious 36th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, one of the worst Nazi penal units, the 3rd SS Panzer Division ‘Totenkopf’, and assorted swastikas and other far-right symbols.
Ukraine is the only country in the world that has integrated openly neo-Nazi militias into its national military. These units were once described by Western media outlets as “neo-Nazi,” but are being referred to as “far-right groups” amid the conflict between Kiev and Moscow.