Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday ordered law enforcement agencies to seek the extradition from Canada of a Ukrainian World War II veteran who fought alongside the Nazis.
Yaroslav Hunka, 98, had served in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, which is accused of committing crimes against humanity during the Holocaust.
Hunka was unwittingly celebrated in Canadian parliament as a veteran who had “fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians” during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish, last month.
Russia — which is entering the 21st month of its invasion of Ukraine that it started under the pretext of “de-Nazifying” the country — quickly led calls to “bring to justice” Hunka.
At Wednesday’s meeting with colleagues from Belarus, Shoigu said he had instructed both Russian and Belarusian law enforcement agencies to seek Hunka’s extradition with Canada and Interpol.
“Hunka must be held fully accountable for his bloody crimes,” Shoigu said, according to a Defense Ministry statement.
“Such crimes against humanity have no statute of limitations,” he added.
Shoigu argued that Russia has “every reason” to demand Hunka’s extradition because of his alleged “direct participation” in the genocide of Poles and Jews in the Lviv region of Ukraine, which at the time was part of the Soviet Union.
“The harboring of this Nazi criminal… who has the blood of hundreds if not thousands of our citizens on his hands, cannot be justified for any reason.”