The now-former speaker of Canada’s parliament is either an “idiot” or a “scoundrel,” Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested.
- Anthony Rota arranged for a Waffen SS veteran to be commemorated at the legislature during the visit of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
Putin made the remarks on Thursday as he spoke during the plenary session of the 20th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi.
The recent scandal over the celebration of 98-year-old SS Galicia Division veteran Yaroslav Hunka was either a deliberate malicious act or a result of remarkable ignorance on the part of the legislature’s ex-speaker, Anthony Rota, Putin suggested.
- “If [Rota] says that he [the veteran] fought against the Russians, he cannot help but understand that he fought on the side of Hitler or was a fascist collaborator. If a person does not know that Hitler fought against Russia during the war, then he is an idiot or did not study too well in school. And if he knows and at the same time calls an SS veteran a hero, then he is a scoundrel,” Putin explained.
- The scandal erupted in late September, when the Waffen SS veteran was lauded at the Canadian legislature as a Ukrainian and Canadian “hero,” who fought “for Ukrainian independence against the Russians” during World War II.
Hunka served with the notorious 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, also known as the 1st Galician Division, formed by Nazi Germany from mostly western Ukrainians and known to have committed atrocities against Jews and Poles. He received a standing ovation at the legislature with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Zelensky in attendance.
The now-former House Speaker Rota took responsibility for the affair, resigning and expressing “profound regret” for his “error.”
Hosting Hunka at the legislature triggered a major international scandal, while footage posted online by his granddaughter suggested the veteran may have also personally met with Trudeau at his office.
Putin calls former Canadian House Speaker ‘an idiot’ after honoring of Nazi
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday called Canada’s former parliament speaker an “idiot” after the legislature celebrated a Ukrainian World War II veteran who had fought alongside the Nazis, AFP reported.
- “If the speaker of the Canadian parliament says that during World War II this Canadian-Ukrainian or Ukrainian-Canadian Nazi fought against the Russians, he cannot help but understand that he fought on the side of Hitler,” Putin said.
- “Let’s assume he doesn’t know this,” the Russian leader added.
- “But if he doesn’t know that Hitler and his minions fought against Russia during the war, then he’s an idiot. It means he just didn’t go to school,” continued Putin, who then said that if the parliament speaker knew the Ukrainian veteran had fought alongside the Nazi “then he is a wretch. Either this or that.”
- “It looked absolutely disgusting that everyone applauded this Nazi, especially the president of Ukraine, who has Jewish blood in his veins,” stated Putin.
Putin was referring to an embarrassing incident in which Canada’s Parliament praised Yaroslav Hunka, a former Nazi soldier, during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
House Speaker Anthony Rota hailed the man as a veteran soldier for Ukraine and a hero who had emigrated to Canada, without knowing his identity.
Rota, a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party, resigned last week after the incident. Jewish groups had demanded an apology over the incident and while Rota did apologize, that was not enough to quiet down the calls on him to step down.
After Rota resigned, Trudeau formally apologized and said, “For all of us who were present to have unknowingly recognized this individual was a terrible mistake and a violation of the memory of those who suffered grievously at the hands of the Nazi regime.”
Source: Arutz Sheva