Ottawa, September 26: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has 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 on Monday at the House of Commons of Canada, Trudeau termed the incident as "extremely upsetting". "The Speaker has acknowledged his mistake and has apologised," 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 honour 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". Canada: MPs in House of Commons Give Standing Ovation to Yaroslav Hunka Who Fought for Nazi Military During World War 2, Speaker Anthony Rota Apologises
After the revelation, there are growing calls against Rota for stepping down from the post for extending an invitation to the former Ukrainian soldier, Xinhua news agency reported. Amid growing anger against him, the Speaker apologised 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. India-Canada Tension: After Khalistani Terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s Killing, FBI Warned Sikhs in US About Death Threats
"I am deeply sorry I offended many with my gestures and remarks," he added. "This initiative was entirely my own." "I want to really tell you that the intention was not to embarrass this House," he said.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 26, 2023 08:27 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).