Russia will demand an explanation from Canada for giving a standing ovation in parliament to a Ukrainian man who served in a Nazi division during World War II, Oleg Stepanov, Moscow’s ambassador to Ottawa, has said.
The controversy first erupted last week when AP released a photo taken in the House of Commons showing a smiling Vladimir Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, clenching his fist along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while applauding a person outside the frame. The caption to the photo said that the two leaders “recognize Yaroslav Hunka, who was in attendance and fought with the First Ukrainian Division in World War II before later immigrating to Canada.”
House Speaker Anthony Rota introduced Hunka, 98, as “a Ukrainian-Canadian veteran… who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians.”
“He’s a Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero, and we thank him for all his service,” he added.