The embarrassment and resignation: Canadian House of Representatives Speaker Anthony Rutte, one of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's key allies, announced his resignation on Tuesday following a serious incident at a special session of parliament in which he caused hundreds in attendance — including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — to applaud the SS fighter. Former.
Rutte said he made a mistake when he invited 98-year-old Yaroslav Honka to an event — meant to honor the Ukrainian president — on Friday and when he called him a hero and asked attendees to applaud him for his fight for Ukrainian independence.
Those in attendance, which included top echelons of the Canadian government, including Trudeau himself, were unaware of Honke's presence in advance.
Rutte, who was the official host of Honka and Zelensky and actually presided over the event, asked attendees to applaud Honka because he was "a hero who fought for Ukrainian independence against Russian aggressors then, and continues to help (Ukrainian) forces even today, at the age of 98." Rutte also called him "a Canadian hero, a Ukrainian hero, and we thank him for that." Those present in the hall, who, as noted, were unaware of his past, heeded the speaker's request and applauded him twice – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau applauded, Zelensky waved his fist, and everyone in attendance united in loud applause – but soon a storm was created that was not remembered for many years in Maple Land.
The Associated Press soon recognized that the elderly man honored was a former fighter in the First Ukrainian Division (Galicia) of the armed SS wing (Waffen-SS). It was a unit composed of Ukrainian volunteers in the Galicia region. Apparently, the reason for his invitation to the event was because Honka is in Rota's constituency.
The many condemnations, including from the Jewish community, led to an apology from Rutte, but on Tuesday he realized that he would not be able to continue in his position. "The public recognition has caused pain to communities and people, including the international community in Canada and around the world, and I take full responsibility for my actions," he said. The resignation will take effect within 24 hours.
The resignation came in part because Trudeau turned his back on him, saying he "should think about his future" and Canada's foreign minister explicitly called on him to resign. Russia also condemned the tribute, which above all embarrassed Ukraine by allegedly reinforcing the false pretext for Russia's invasion of its neighbor: purging Ukraine of Nazis.
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