Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, visiting Canada for the first time since the commencement of the Russia-Ukraine war in February last year, addressed the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on 22 September.
Curiously, Zelenskyy and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were among those in the Parliament who were seen offering a standing ovation and plenty of applause to one Yaroslav Hunka, aged 98.
Hunka had fought with the First Ukrainian Division in the Second World War before later immigrating to Canada, as per The Associated Press.
According to Ivan Katchanovski, a political scientist at the University of Ottawa, Hunka was from the notorious Waffen-SS Galicia Division, for which he had volunteered to join in 1943 in the Ternopil region in Western Ukraine, citing Hunka's own writing.
The SS Galicia Division comprised Ukrainians from the Galicia region and was formed in 1943 under German command.
Despite acting under German command, the Ukrainian nationalists have always pitched the SS Galicia Division as having fought for the independence of Ukraine, according to Katchanovski, writing in his paper 'The Politics of World War II in Contemporary Ukraine', published in the Journal of Slavic Military Studies.
In an X post, he writes that the SS Galicia division members were involved in the "mass murder of Poles, Jews and Ukrainians in Ukraine and Poland, including mass executions of about 100 Jews, Poles & Ukrainians in my high school in Pidhaitsi near Lutsk."
Katchanovski writes in his paper that the "nationalist perspective ignores or denies involvement of the SS ‘Galicia’ Division in the mass murder."
"For example, Galician regiments, before majority of their members formally joined the SS ‘Galicia’ Division... massacred close to 1,000 Poles in Huta Peniatska... and they participated in other massacres of Polish civilians."
In the Canadian Parliament, Hunka was celebrated and referred to as "a Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero," and was thanked for "all his service."
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