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5 Oct, 2023 19:11

Putin weighs in on Canadian parliament Nazi scandal

The Russian president has offered his view on the recent debacle, where a former Waffen SS soldier was applauded
Putin weighs in on Canadian parliament Nazi scandal

The now-former speaker of Canada’s parliament  is either an “idiot” or a “scoundrel,” Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested. Anthony Rota arranged for a Waffen SS veteran to be commemorated at the legislature during the visit of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

Putin made the remarks on Thursday as he spoke during the plenary session of the 20th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi. The recent scandal over the celebration of 98-year-old SS Galicia Division veteran Yaroslav Hunka was either a deliberate malicious act or a result of remarkable ignorance on the part of the legislature’s ex-speaker, Anthony Rota, Putin suggested.

“If [Rota] says that he [the veteran] fought against the Russians, he cannot help but understand that he fought on the side of Hitler or was a fascist collaborator. If a person does not know that Hitler fought against Russia during the war, then he is an idiot or did not study too well in school. And if he knows and at the same time calls an SS veteran a hero, then he is a scoundrel,” Putin explained.

The scandal erupted in late September, when the Waffen SS veteran was lauded at the Canadian legislature as a Ukrainian and Canadian “hero,” who fought “for Ukrainian independence against the Russians” during World War II. Hunka served with the notorious 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, also known as the 1st Galician Division, formed by Nazi Germany from mostly western Ukrainians and known to have committed atrocities against Jews and Poles. He received a standing ovation at the legislature with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Zelensky in attendance.

The now-former House Speaker Rota took responsibility for the affair, resigning and expressing “profound regret” for his “error.” Hosting Hunka at the legislature triggered a major international scandal, while footage posted online by his granddaughter suggested the veteran may have also personally met with Trudeau at his office.