The speaker of Canada’s House of Commons, Anthony Rota, issued an apology for praising an individual with a Nazi past during a parliamentary meeting. Rota had previously recognized Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old who served in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS during World War II, as a “Ukrainian hero.” The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group, demanded an apology, and Rota took responsibility for the oversight, expressing regret and offering his deepest apologies to Jewish communities. The recognition of Hunka occurred after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s visit to Canada, where he thanked the country for its support in Ukraine’s conflict with Russia. Rota’s acknowledgment of Hunka, who received two standing ovations, drew criticism from the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, who condemned the applause given to an individual associated with the Waffen-SS, a Nazi military branch responsible for the murder of Jews and others. The group called for an explanation regarding how Hunka was allowed into the Canadian Parliament and received recognition from the Speaker of the House. Rota clarified that his plans and remarks were not known to anyone, including fellow parliamentarians and the Ukrainian delegation. It is worth noting that Russia has been drawing parallels between their actions in Ukraine and the fight against Nazism in World War II, a comparison that Ukraine rejects. Hunka was unavailable for comment.
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