Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized on behalf of Canada’s Parliament for inviting Nazi unit veteran Yaroslav Hunka to an event honoring President Volodymyr Zelensky, CBC reported on Sept. 27.
"This was a mistake that has deeply embarrassed Parliament and Canada. All of us who were in this House on Friday regret deeply having stood and clapped even though we did so unaware of the context," Trudeau told reporters.
98-year-old Ukrainian-Canadian Yaroslav Hunka was invited as a guest of honor during a Ukrainian delegation's visit to Ottawa. Hunka is a World War II veteran – but served in a voluntary unit under Nazi command.
The event triggered widespread condemnation from Jewish, Polish, Roma, and LGBT communities, and from other marginalized groups that were targeted by Nazi forces during World War II.
"It was a horrendous violation of the memory of the millions of people who died in the Holocaust," Trudeau said.
Earlier this week Canadian House Speaker Anthony Rota apologized for inviting Hunka, and explained that the Ukrainian delegation had not been informed of his plans to honor the Nazi veteran.
The 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS was formed in 1943. It was composed largely of Western Ukrainian and Slovak volunteers and was renamed the First Ukrainian Division before surrendering to the Western Allies in 1945.
While some ethnic Ukrainians fought under the Nazi command, millions more served under the Soviet Red Army against Nazi Germany.