The Speaker of Canada’s House of Commons has resigned after he invited a man who fought for the Nazis to attend a speech by Ukraine’s president.
Anthony Rota introduced Yaroslav Hunka, 98, as a war hero who had battled for Ukrainian independence against Russia.
Parliamentarians from all sides gave him a standing ovation.
It later emerged the First Ukrainian Division he served in was also known as the Waffen-SS Galicia Division, a voluntary unit under Nazi command.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it “deeply embarrassing” and Mr Rota later apologised, saying he hadn’t been aware of the Nazi link.
He resigned on Tuesday after a meeting with party leaders – who had all called for him to go.
“No one in this House is above any of us. Therefore I must step down as your Speaker,” Mr Rota said in parliament.
“I reiterate my profound regret for my error in recognising an individual in the House during the joint address to parliament of President Zelenskyy,” said the speaker.
“That public recognition has caused pain to individuals and communities, including to the Jewish community in Canada and around the world in addition to Nazi survivors in Poland among other nations.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions,” he added.
The government leader in the House, Karina Gould, said members had lost confidence in Mr Rota and that he had invited the veteran without telling the government or the Ukrainian delegation.
Mr Hunka, who lives in the district Mr Rota represents, appeared in the Ottawa parliament on Friday as President Zelenskyy gave a speech.
During the Second World War, when Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union, some Ukrainian nationalists joined Nazi units because they saw the Germans as liberators from Soviet oppression.
Commentators said the Speaker’s gaffe had given Russia a propaganda win after the Kremlin called the episode “outrageous” and given President Putin’s false claims he’s trying to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
“It’s highly unfortunate and the only winner here is the Putin regime, which is already spinning what happened on Friday to justify its ongoing military actions in Ukraine,” said Daniel Beland, a politics professor at Montreal’s McGill University.