(HorizonPost.com) – On Sunday, the speaker of Canada’s House of Commons was forced to apologize for introducing and recognizing a 98-year-old former member of Nazi Germany’s Waffen SS during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Parliament last week, CBS News reported.
After the Ukrainian president addressed the House of Commons last Friday, Speaker Anthony Rota introduced Yaraslav Hunka as a war hero who fought “against the Russians” with the First Ukrainian Division.
After the introduction, members of the House of Commons gave Hunka a standing ovation as President Zelensky acknowledged Hunka with a raised fist.
Rota described Hunka as a Canadian and Ukrainian hero and thanked him for his service.
But because the First Ukrainian Division was part of the Nazi’s Waffen SS, Rota and the House of Commons came under fire for singling him out for praise and applause.
In a statement on Sunday, the speaker said he only “subsequently” learned that Hunka fought for the Nazis and said he regretted his decision to recognize him. He explained that neither the members of the House of Commons nor the Ukrainian delegation knew that he planned to introduce Hunka, whom Rota noted lives in his district.
Rota extended his apologies to the Jewish communities both in Canada and across the globe and said he took “full responsibility” for his actions.
In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office insisted that it had not been informed in advance that Rota planned to invite or recognize Hunka. It noted that Speaker Rota has “accepted full responsibility” which was “the right thing to do.”
Known as SS 14th Waffen Division, or the Waffen SS Galicia Division, the First Ukrainian Division was a volunteer unit under the command of the Third Reich.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the Zelensky government as “neo-Nazis” despite Volodymyr Zelensky being Jewish and losing family members in the Holocaust. President Zelensky was in Ottawa to boost support for Ukraine’s war against Russia’s invasion.
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