The Russian president warned that the falsification of history and the glorification of Nazis can lead to tragic consequences
Russia will consistently defend the truth about World War 2 and the USSR's contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany, President Vladimir Putin has insisted in an address to a forum in Kaliningrad.
"Today, we can see that the direct falsification of history, the acquittal of Nazi criminals and their accomplices, can lead to destructive consequences for millions of people," Putin said in a telegram read out at the 'No Statute of Limitations' forum by Sergei Novikov, head of the Russian Presidential Administration of Public Projects.
"Therefore we must firmly and consistently defend the truth about the Great Patriotic War and resist any attempts to revise our country's contribution to the Great Victory," Putin wrote.
The president commended the participants of the forum for devoting themselves to preserving Russia's historical memory and working to uncover classified archival documents and court decisions that shed light on the atrocities of the Nazis against the civilian population during WW2.
Putin's address came shortly after Russia's investigative committee announced last week that it had uncovered documents proving that Yaroslav Hunka - a Nazi veteran who was infamously celebrated in the Canadian Parliament last month as a "hero" and "defender of Ukraine" - took part in ethnic cleansings while serving as a volunteer in the 14th Waffen SS Grenadier Division during WW2.
The investigative committee stated in a press release that its Main Investigation Department had found evidence in Russia's State Archives that between February 23 and February 28 in 1944, Hunka and other members of the SS Galicia division had killed as many as 500 citizens of the USSR, including Jews and Poles, in Guta Penyatskaya, a former village in the Brodsky district of Lviv Region. The investigators noted that these victims were shot or burned alive in residential buildings, as well as churches.
The 98-year-old Canadian is now being accused of genocide. However, Russian authorities are still deciding on whether or not to place Hunka on the international wanted list and arrest him in absentia.
Ottawa, meanwhile, has apologized for honoring the Nazi veteran during Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky's visit. That was after Hunka's past allegiance was highlighted to the public by Jewish organizations. Anthony Rota, who arranged the Nazi veteran's appearance, later stepped down as speaker of the House of Commons, after accepting full responsibility for the move.