The far-right influence is so strong that the honoring of a Waffen-SS veteran in parliament is not surprising, Dmitry Polyansky has said Dmitry Polyansky, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations © AP / John Minchillo

The recent honoring of a Waffen-SS veteran in Canada’s House of Commons was hardly surprising, given the country’s history of harboring Nazi collaborators after World War II, a senior Russia diplomat told RIA Novosti on Monday.

The descendants of these people lobby the government to have their ancestors whitewashed and celebrated, Dmitry Polyansky, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the UN, explained, referring to an incident in September involving an elderly Ukrainian-Canadian man named Yaroslav Hunka.

“Neo-Nazi ideology or nationalist ideology, unfortunately, has a very strong influence in Canada. I think this is obvious,” the Russian official said. “The [Justin] Trudeau government is somewhat a hostage [to the situation].”

Polyansky noted that the large number of Nazi war criminals that entered Canada after World War II had children and grandchildren in the country, and so the situation in which Hunka, a 98-year-old veteran of the SS Galicia Division, was honored in the Canadian parliament earlier this year was hardly “surprising.”

Last September, a scandal erupted when Hunka, who served with the notorious 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, which is known to have committed atrocities against Jews and Poles during World War II, received a standing ovation in the Canadian parliament with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in attendance.

The Waffen SS veteran was introduced as a “hero” who fought “for Ukrainian independence against the Russians” during World War II.

Canada facing ‘very scary rise of anti-Semitism’ – PM Canada facing ‘very scary rise of anti-Semitism’ – PM

At the time, Canada’s immigration minister, Marc Miller, admitted that the country has “a really dark history with Nazis,” saying that at one point, “it was easier to get in [to Canada] as a Nazi than it was as a Jewish person.”

Following backlash from Jewish organizations, House Speaker Anthony Rota, who invited Hunka to the event, accepted full responsibility for the incident and has since resigned. Trudeau offered “unreserved apologies” for applauding the Nazi veteran.

In October, Russia’s Investigative Committee charged Hunka in absentia with genocide, claiming that archive documents serve as evidence that he and fellow SS Galicia members killed at least 500 civilians between February 23 and 28, 1944. Russian media outlets later reported that the country’s Interior Ministry placed him on its official database of wanted individuals. (RT)