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Russia submits to Canada extradition request for Ukrainian SS veteran Hunka — ambassador

The Russian Embassy is now waiting for the response from the Canadian Department of Justice, said Russian Ambassador to Ottawa Oleg Stepanov

OTTAWA, February 11. /TASS/. The Russian Embassy in Canada has submitted an extradtion request for 98-year-old Ukrainian Nazi war veteran Yaroslav Hunka (Gunka), and is now waiting for the response from the Canadian Department of Justice, Russian Ambassador to Ottawa Oleg Stepanov told TASS.

"On December 19, 2023, we submitted to the foreign ministry of Canada a request by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office to extradite Yaroslav Gunka to Russia. The note says that he is under a criminal investigation by the Russian Investigative Committee, in connection with actions aimed at total elimination of an ethnic group, or, in short, genocide," the diplomat said.

Stepanov said Canada and Russia had no extradition treaty. However, the two states signed a Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in 1997.

"It is a matter of principle. In fact, Gunka himself acknowledged that he had joined SS voluntarily and, therefore, was involved in the crimes of SS Division 'Galicia.' So, a Nazi is living here. Does the Canadian justice plans to prosecute him here? That’s the question," the ambassador added.

The Canadian Department of Justice said it would not comment on whether it received the request for Hunka’s extradition, because such documents are deemed confidential until the court verdict is pronounced. The department said that extradition from Canada is carried out in accordance with relevant domestic laws, international treaties and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It also emphasized that Russia and Canada have never signed an extradition treaty.

Earlier, the Russian Investigative Committee charged Hunka in absentia for genocide of civilians on the territory of Ukraine during World War II. The investigators obtained documented confirmation about deployment locations and operations of the SS Division "Galicia," where Hunka served, from the Russian Defense Ministry’s Central Archive and the National Archive of the Russian Federation.

A Nazi in Canadian parliament

On September 22, during Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky's appearance before the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, the audience gave two standing ovations to invited guest Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian emigre who in 1943 had volunteered to serve in the Nazi 14th SS-Volunteer Division "Galicia." On September 26, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly called for the resignation of House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota, who had introduced Hunka to the audience, praising him as a war veteran who fought "against the Russians" during World War II. Joly called the incident "absolutely unacceptable" and "a disgrace to the House [of Commons] and to Canadians." Rota subsequently tendered his resignation. On September 27, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologized for the incident.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the public praise of the Nazi "epitomizes the ruling regime of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to a T," declaring that Russia does not intend to "tolerate the way Canadian liberals flirt with Nazism.".