Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has broken his radio silence after his Nazi fiasco garnered international condemnation from foes and allies over the weekend.
"Obviously it’s extremely upsetting that this happened, and the Speaker [of the House] has acknowledged his mistake," Trudeau told reporters Monday afternoon while on hiatus from the House of Commons.
His official itinerary for the day includes "private meetings" and an afternoon head-to-head with B.C. Premier David Eby.
Amid growing outrage over Parliament’s praise of Waffen SS genocidaire Yaroslav Hunka, 98, Trudeau called his invite to the Commons “deeply embarrassing.”
Also on Monday, a Kremlin spokesperson called it "outrageous" that the Canadian Parliament gave two standing ovations to a member of the 14th Waffen SS Division Galicia.
Dmitry Peskov called Canada’s lawmakers "careless" in their disregard for historical truth rather than preserving the memory of Nazi war crimes during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"Such sloppiness of memory is outrageous," he told reporters.
The SS Waffen fought the Polish Home Army in WWII, crushed the Slovak National Uprising and hunted down anti-Nazi partisans in Slovenia among other crimes at the time, reported military journal esprit de corps.
According to the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, the 14th Waffen SS Division Galicia is designated as a criminal organization.
"Many Western countries, including Canada, have raised a young generation that does not know who fought whom or what happened during the Second World War. And they know nothing about the threat of fascism," added the Kremlin.
In his remarks to reporters, Trudeau pivoted to say his government will continue to push back against “Russian propaganda.”
“It’s going to be important for all of us to push back against Russian disinformation, and continue our steadfast and unequivocal support for Ukraine,” he said.
In addition, he apologized to Jewish MPs and “all members of the Jewish community” commemorating Yom Kippur.
Government House leader Karina Gould spoke on behalf of the prime minister Monday afternoon to reiterate that Friday’s fumble was an “initiative” by the Speaker of the House.
“Neither the government of Canada nor the delegation of Ukraine had any knowledge of this individual [Yaroslav Hunka] coming to [Parliament],” she claims.
“The Speaker is responsible for this chamber. He invited him of his own accord. And he made the decision himself to recognize him.”
On Friday, Speaker Anthony Rota commemorated Hunka as a “Canadian hero” in a brief speech and thanked him for his service in the Second World War.
“I recognized an individual in the gallery,” he said in a follow-up statement. “I have subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to do so.”
As many as 2,000 Waffen SS soldiers of Ukrainian heritage sought refuge in Canada under false pretense to avoid prosecution in the 1950s.
These soldiers voluntarily served the Nazi war machine and "eagerly signed up" to join the SS Waffen to commit alleged war crimes.