The Speaker of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada, Anthony Rota, resigned because of the admission in the plenary hall of a former Nazi soldier and the words of praise addressed to him, the world agencies reported.
The incident in question happened during the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the Parliament of Canada on Friday. Then among the guests in the plenary hall, invited because of his visit, was a Ukrainian who was a member of the Nazi forces – the 98-year-old Ukrainian immigrant Yaroslav Hunka. The chairman of the House of Commons, Anthony Rota, addressed him with welcoming words.
When it became clear who this person was, a huge scandal broke out, and there was also a reaction from Russia. Hunka served in the 14th Grenadier Division of the SS paramilitary organization, whose crimes against humanity during the Holocaust are well documented.
An association of the Jewish community in Canada has demanded an apology from Ottawa for Friday’s incident during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the Canadian parliament.
The Russian Embassy in Ottawa sent a note to the Canadian Foreign Ministry, as well as the offices of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota.
Soon after, it became clear that Rota was withdrawing. “It is with a heavy heart that I inform members of Parliament that I am resigning as Speaker of the House of Commons,” he said and expressed his deep regret for the mistake.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office has denied involvement in the case and asserted its independence from the Speaker of Parliament. The Ukrainian delegation accompanying Zelensky was also not informed of the presence of this person in the plenary hall, Trudeau’s office clarified.
The SS Division Galicia (or Galicia) was formed by residents of Western Ukraine in 1943. In July 1944, it was almost completely destroyed in the Battle of Brody, after which it was re-formed and used in Slovakia, Yugoslavia and Austria.
In April 1945, it was withdrawn from the SS, renamed the 1st Ukrainian Division and became part of the Ukrainian National Army. In May, its soldiers surrendered to the British and American forces, TASS recalls.