Russia reacts to reported removal of Ukrainian Nazi SS monument in Canada

Aprilia Rine

Russia reacts to reported removal of Ukrainian Nazi SS monument in Canada

A memorial to the Waffen-SS Galicia Division has apparently been taken down at a Ukrainian cemetery in Canada

The Russian embassy in Canada on Friday praised the reported removal of a cenotaph that commemorated the Waffen-SS Galicia Division from St. Vladimir Ukrainian cemetery in Oakville, a Toronto suburb.

Unverified footage showing the monument being taken down by a crane emerged online earlier in the day. The cenotaph appears to be missing its top part, which featured a cross adorned with the emblem of the SS unit.

Thus far, no official information has been provided by local authorities on the development, and it remains unclear whether the monument is actually gone for good from the cemetery.

The apparent removal of the cenotaph soon came in for praise from the Russian embassy in the country, with a spokesman for the mission describing the move as a “good start,” signaling that those seeking to whitewash the Nazis and SS crimes would likely be properly repelled.

“Despite the vicious neo-Nazi propaganda by Kiev and its sponsors, justice has triumphed. There’s no place for symbols of Nazism and the glorification of Nazi henchmen in the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition,” the spokesman told TASS.

The monument commemorating the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which has been accused of extensive ethnic cleansing targeting the region’s Jewish and Polish populations, was erected at the St. Vladimir cemetery in 1988, shortly followed by the cenotaph for the Waffen-SS Galicia.

The installation has been targeted by unknown vandals in the past and served as a source of controversy in the community. Oakville mayor Rob Burton, for instance, openly condemned the monument, admitting, however, that local authorities had no power to demolish it.

“It’s personally repugnant to me. I have family who died fighting Nazis. If Ontario laws permitted me to have it removed, it would have been gone 14 years ago,” Burton said in 2020, after the cenotaph was attacked by vandals.

The controversial monument came into the limelight again in the wake of the massive scandal surrounding 98-year-old Ukrainian-Canadian Waffen-SS Galicia Division veteran Yaroslav Hunka. The veteran was celebrated at the Canadian Parliament last September in the presence of PM Justin Trudeau and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

The affair triggered a massive political scandal in Canada and beyond, with House Speaker Anthony Rota ultimately taking all the blame for hosting the old Nazi, and resigning.

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