UN censures Canada over celebration of Ukrainian WW2 Nazi veteran
The UN has condemned Canadian MPs decision to honor a Nazi veteran last week. Yaroslav Hunka, 98 – a Ukrainian man who fought in the Waffen SS during World War II – was given a standing ovation during a visit by the country's President Vladimir Zelensky.
The spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Stephane Dujarric, told journalists that “we, of course, stand against any honoring of people, who actively took part in Nazi activities during the Second World War.”
Dujarric said during a daily briefing on Monday that the UN opposes any moves celebrating anyone who had actively aided and abetted the Nazis.
Hunka had been invited to attend parliament as a “Ukrainian and Canadian hero,” despite widely available photographic evidence of his membership in the SS. Canadian House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota, who was responsible for inviting the elderly veteran, has since apologized and expressed regret over the decision.
The office of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted that “no advance notice” had been provided to Zelensky’s delegation or to the Canadian leader about Hunka’s invitation. The incident nevertheless sparked outrage and sparked condemnation from several nation states and Jewish groups.
Oleg Stepanov, Moscow’s ambassador to Ottawa, said last Sunday that Russia would demand an explanation from Ottawa for hailing a Nazi veteran. He also called the government led by Trudeau the “epitome of neo-liberal fascism.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the incident as “outrageous negligence.”
A similar reaction came from Poland. Witold Dzielski, Warsaw’s ambassador to Ottawa, said that the SS unit Hunka was serving with was “responsible for murdering thousands of Poles & Jews,” adding that his nation would never agree to “whitewashing such villains.”
Several Jewish organizations, including the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs that represents Jewish federations across Canada, condemned the parliament’s actions as well.
“An apology is owed to every Holocaust survivor and veteran of the Second World War who fought the Nazis,” the FSWC said.