Canadian PM regrets Parliament’s standing ovation for man who fought for Nazis

Talking to reporters at the House of Commons of Canada, Justin Trudeau termed the incident as "extremely upsetting."

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives at a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2018. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday lamented the Canadian Parliament’s accidental standing ovation to a veteran who fought for Ukrainian independence on behalf of the Nazi unit during the Second World War.

Talking to reporters at the House of Commons of Canada, Trudeau termed the incident as “extremely upsetting.”

“The Speaker has acknowledged his mistake and has apologized,” Trudeau told reporters, adding “but this is something that is deeply embarrassing to the Parliament of Canada and by extension to all Canadians.”

Trudeau’s remarks came amid revelation that Canadian lawmakers gave the special honor to Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian Canadian, shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the House of Commons on Friday as part of his visit to the country. However, two days later, it came to limelight that the man was in fact part of a Nazi unit fighting for Ukrainian independence.

Speaker Anthony Rota, in his parliamentary speech on Friday, had hailed Hunka as “a Ukrainian Canadian war veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians” and “a Ukrainian hero and a Canadian hero.”

After the revelation, there are growing calls against Rota for stepping down from the post for extending an invitation to the former Ukrainian soldier.

Amid growing anger against him, the speaker apologized to the Canadian lawmakers immediately after the opening of Parliament on Monday.

Rota said he personally regrets inviting this constituent and giving him attention after Zelensky’s remarks.

“I am deeply sorry I offended many with my gestures and remarks,” he said. “This initiative was entirely my own.”

“I want to really tell you that the intention was not to embarrass this House,” he added.  

Xinhua News Agency

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