The Kremlin on Wednesday called for the trial of a former Ukrainian soldier who fought with the Nazis but was honored last week in the House of Commons in Ottawa, leading to Poland opening an investigation with a view to possible extradition.
“The Canadian authorities are required to bring this criminal to justice or hand over this criminal to those who want to do justice. It is clear that he is a Nazi,” said Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
During Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Ottawa last Friday, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Anthony Rota, applauded Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian accused of having fought in the SS during the Second World War.
On Tuesday, Mr. Rota announced his resignation in the face of indignation, particularly from Jewish organizations, caused by this tribute.
Tuesday evening, the Polish Minister of Education announced that he had requested an investigation to verify whether this Ukrainian veteran had not committed crimes in Poland, with a view to his possible extradition.
“The Speaker of the (Canadian) Parliament resigned and took this responsibility upon himself. But what can we say about Parliament itself, which stood up and applauded this fascist? Reason demands condemnation of Nazism […] Otherwise, it is a Parliament that has soiled itself,” denounced Mr. Peskov on Wednesday.
“We can only honor the memory of Ukrainian veterans who fought against fascism, including (Volodymyr) Zelensky’s grandfather,” he added.
This scandal is widely commented on by the Russian authorities and state media, who present the offensive in Ukraine as a fight against supposed neo-Nazis in power, supported by the West.
Further details will follow.