The standing ovation given for a 98-year old Ukrainian veteran who fought for a Nazi unit has garnered global media attention.
On Friday, Yaroslav Hunka, who fought with the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, was recognized and given a standing ovation in the House of Commons, a scandal that has been picked up by media outlets across the world.
Speaker of the House Anthony Rota has since apologized for his recognition of Hunka and said that he was unaware of his past.
The embarrassing incident has led to opposition parties the NDP and Bloc Quebecois to call for Rota to resign. A number of Jewish advocacy groups have also expressed their outrage at the poor decision making of Rota.
The incident isn’t solely a domestic embarrassment but one felt throughout the West, with dozens of media outlets reporting on it in the U.S., U.K. and Europe.
The Guardian wrote about the incident, saying “Canada has become embroiled in an escalating political controversy after members of its House of Commons were encouraged to join in a standing ovation for an individual who fought in Ukraine with a Nazi military unit accused of war crimes during the second world war.”
South of the border, the story was covered by the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC News, and Fox News, among other outlets.
“It seemed like a touching and timely tribute by Canadian lawmakers to a 98-year-old war “hero” who fought for Ukraine’s independence during World War II. But it soon emerged that the man was in fact part of a notorious Nazi unit, leading to fury at the standing ovation he was given in the presence of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy” wrote NBC News.
Fox News wrote about the pivotal role that the Soviet Union played in helping the Allied forces defeat the Nazis in the Second World War.
“The Soviet Union played a pivotal role in defeating Nazi Germany, including during the Battle of Stalingrad, which marked a turning point in the war. The U.S. Department of State outlines on its website that “without the remarkable efforts of the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front, the United States and Great Britain would have been hard pressed to score a decisive military victory over Nazi Germany,” wrote Fox News’ Emma Colton in her coverage of the incident.
In Ukraine, the Kyiv Post’s reporting included a statement from the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC), which said that affair overlooks “the horrific fact that Hunka served in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, a Nazi military unit whose crimes against humanity during the Holocaust are well-documented,” read the statement by the Jewish advocacy group.
“An apology is owed to every Holocaust survivor and veteran of the Second World War who fought the Nazis, and an explanation must be provided as to how this individual entered the hallowed halls of Canadian Parliament and received recognition from the Speaker of the House and a standing ovation,” it continued.
Russian state media was undoubtedly thrilled to use the opportunity to call into question why and how Hunka was able to receive sanctuary in Canada for all these years.
“Whether Trudeau (and his Stepan Bandera-sympathizing deputy PM Chrystia Freeland) knew about Yaroslav Hunka or not, the question remains: why was he never brought to justice? He, or any of the other 2,000 SS Nazis Canada reportedly took in in the years following WW2. Having been accepted as anti-communist refugees with little to no scrutiny, these suspected war criminals and collaborators have been allowed to live out the rest of their days in peace, and most of them have done so openly under their own names,” wrote RT News.