Russia Urges Canada to Dismantle Monuments of Ukrainian SS Division

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.09 - 2024 2:02 PM CET

Photo: Hussein Eddeb / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Hussein Eddeb / Shutterstock.com
Russia Urges Canada to Dismantle Monuments of Ukrainian SS Division.

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The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made a statement calling for the demolition of monuments dedicated to the Ukrainian SS-Galizien division in Canada, labeling it as a step towards eradicating the legacy of Ukrainian Nazis. According to the pro-Kremlin news agency TASS, the ministry emphasized,

"The best proof of the seriousness of Ottawa's intentions to distance itself from Ukraine's Nazi past will be the liquidation of monuments honoring Nazi collaborators."

This demand comes as the Russian embassy in Canada has repeatedly called for the removal of monuments "honoring Nazi supporters," with the ministry adding,

"The demolition of the SS monument in Canada is the first step towards eliminating the legacy of Ukrainian Nazis in this country."

The issue gained attention in September 2023, with the BBC noting the existence of several monuments in Canada, dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, that honor Ukrainians who served in the SS-Galizien division.

One such monument in a private cemetery in Oakville was recently demolished, a development that has been leveraged in Kremlin propaganda related to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Controversy Surrounding Ukrainian President Zelensky's Visit to Canada

The controversy surrounding these monuments intensified during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to the Canadian parliament in September, part of his North American tour. Alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Zelensky recognized 98-year-old Ukrainian emigrant Yaroslav Hunka, who fought against Soviet Russia during World War II, as a "Ukrainian and Canadian hero."

During his speech, President Zelensky asserted, "Russian aggression must end with a victory for Ukraine," recalling the Holodomor in Ukraine and highlighting the ongoing war's significance in saving millions of lives.

The "Hero of Ukraine and Canada" Controversy

However, revelations emerged that Hunka had served in the Nazi SS Galizien division, as highlighted by Ivan Katchanovski from the University of Ottawa. Katchanovski noted,

"The veteran of the SS Galizien division was called a Ukrainian hero and a Canadian hero by the Speaker of the Canadian Parliament and was thanked for all his service."

In response, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies issued a statement, condemning the division for "being responsible for the mass murder of innocent civilians with an unimaginable level of brutality and malice."

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