Russia has issued an arrest warrant for a Ukrainian World War II veteran in Canada who fought alongside the Nazis after Russian investigators pressed genocide charges against him.
Yaroslav Hunka was celebrated in Canadia's parliament as a veteran who had “fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians” during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in September.
It later emerged that 98-year-old Hunka had served in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, which is accused of committing crimes against humanity during the Holocaust.
Hunka’s name appeared on the Russian Interior Ministry’s database of wanted persons on Thursday.
The Interior Ministry, which lists Hunko as a Polish national born in the part of Ukraine that used to be eastern Poland, did not disclose which crime Hunka is accused of.
Yet Russia’s Investigative Committee on Oct. 20 announced a criminal probe against the veteran on charges of genocide and said that it was seeking to add his name on Interpol’s list of wanted persons.
“Hunka and other division members killed at least 500 citizens of the U.S.S.R. from Feb. 23-28, 1944 [in modern-day western Ukraine],” the Investigative Committee said, citing state and military archives.
Earlier, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered law enforcement agencies to seek Hunka’s extradition due to 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 Investigative Committee’s statement, however, made no mention of Polish and Jewish victims, stating only that “Members of the SS including Hunka… sought the complete destruction of the Slavic ethnic group, as well as other nationalities living in the occupied Lviv region of the Ukrainian Soviet republic.”
Russia — which is entering the 21st month of its invasion of Ukraine that it started under the pretext of “de-Nazifying” the country — has led calls to bring Hunka “to justice.”