Trudeau, who was among those to applaud Nazi veteran in Canada Parliament, reacts: ‘Embarrassing’
Speaker of Canada’s House of Commons also apologized for recognizing the 98-year-old Nazi veteran as a "Ukrainian hero" before the Canadian Parliament.
Amid a massive backlash over the Canadian Parliament honouring a Ukrainian Nazi veteran, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said the act was “deeply embarrassing”. Trudeau, who was among those to applaud Yaroslav Hunka - a veteran of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, a Nazi division - added that the act was “clearly unacceptable”.
"This is something that is deeply embarrassing to the Parliament of Canada and by extension to all Canadians," Trudeau told the media.
On Monday, the Canadian lawmakers gave a standing ovation to a man who was introduced as a war hero after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky's address in the House of Commons - only to realise later that the veteran had served in a Nazi unit during World War II.
This resulted in a massive controversy with the main opposition conservatives slamming Trudeau. A Jewish advocacy group also called the incident "shocking" and "incredibly disturbing."
The Kremlin hits out
The Kremlin on Monday called the act by the Canadian parliamentarians “outrageous”, and said that the episode showed a “careless disregard for historical truth”.
“Such sloppiness of memory is outrageous…Many Western countries, including Canada, have raised a young generation that does not know who fought whom or what happened during the Second World War. And they know nothing about the threat of fascism,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Speaker of Canada’s House of Commons issues apology
After receiving backlash, the speaker of Canada’s House of Commons Anthony Rota apologised for recognizing the 98-year-old Nazi veteran as a "Ukrainian hero" before the Canadian Parliament.
“In my remarks following the address of the President of Ukraine, I recognized an individual in the gallery. I have subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to do so,” Rota said in a statement.
He added, “I wish to make clear that no one, including fellow parliamentarians and the Ukraine delegation, was aware of my intention or of my remarks before I delivered them.”
(With inputs from agencies)