Russia Charges Nazi Veteran Praised By Canadian Parliament With “Genocide”

Moscow: Russian investigators said on Friday they had levelled genocide charges against Nazi war veteran Yaroslav Hunka, who was inadvertently applauded by Canadian lawmakers last month.

The incident took place during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the Canadian parliament and prompted its speaker to resign following global condemnation.

In a statement, Russia’s Investigative Committee said it charged Hunka in absentia with the “genocide of civilians on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR during the Great Patriotic War”.

From 23 to 28 February 1944, Hunka and other members of his SS division killed “at least 500 citizens of the USSR” in the village of Huta Pieniacka, it said.

“Among those killed were Jews and Poles. People were shot, burned in residential houses and also in the church,” it added.

Russia said it was considering issuing an international arrest warrant for Hunka, and that it had sent requests for legal assistance to Canada, Poland and Belarus.

Zelensky was in the Canadian parliament as a guest of honour when the speaker, Anthony Rota, name-checked the elderly veteran as a World War II hero, prompting a standing ovation.

Russia quickly seized on the incident, calling for Canada to bring the 98-year-old Nazi veteran to justice.

Moscow has for years tried to paint the pro-Western Ukrainian government led by Zelensky — who is Jewish — as neo-Nazi and used this as a pretext for its offensive in Ukraine.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered an “unreserved” apology in September, calling the incident a “terrible mistake”.

(This story has been published from a syndicated feed.)