Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with the co-founder of Ukraine's far-right fascist party.
According to True North Centre, Trudeau and Freeland met with Andriy Parubiy, who served as the equivalent of the legislative speaker of Ukrainian Parliament from 2016 to 2019.
Parubiy's track record of flirting and outright embracing far-right Nazism spans back to the early '90s, when he co-founded the Nazi-styled Social National Party of Ukraine. Political scientists and observers have criticized the party that includes "openly racist rhetoric" that is "explicitly ethnocentric" that spouts "anti-Semitic ideas."
The party was renamed to the Svoboda Party in 2004 in an attempt to distance itself from Nazi imagery, though the party is still considered to be "far-right" and "ultranationalist."
Parubiy's history of far-right and neo-Nazism includes founding the Patriot of Ukraine group, which was described by The Nation as having formed the core of Azov, Ukraine's officially sanctioned neo-Nazi battalion.
The Azov Special Operations Detachment, also known as the Azov Detachment, Azov Regiment, Azov Battalion, or simply Azov, is a right-wing extremist, neo-Nazi, formerly paramilitary, unit of the National Guard of Ukraine.
True North reports that there exist photos of Parubiy "marching in a Nazi-styled uniform as a young man, and one such photo was even featured on the front cover of a book alleged to be about white nationalism in Eastern Europe."
Parubiy's anti-Semitic history has clear examples, also, such as his declaring several years ago that Ukraine's national mission was to "lead the white races of the world in a final crusade...against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans]," reports Haaretz.
The Jerusalem Post also reported in 2016 that Parubiy made anti-Semitic comments wherein he accused Jews of shipping convicts to Ukraine to destroy the genetic memory of the Holodomor.
The two first became acquainted after a meeting in 2016: "During his visit to the capital of Canada, Mr. Parubiy held a number of fruitful meetings with Canadian government officials and politicians. First Deputy Speaker had a brief meeting with Canadian Prime Minister the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau and Minister of Defence the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan," the Ukrainian Embassy wrote.
Trudeau and Parubiy met again in July of 2016 when the prime minister visited Kyiv. Freeland and Parubiy met in 2019, and posted the meeting on her Facebook page.
"Met with Andriy Parubiy, the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, and discussed the role that Canadian election monitors played in Ukraine’s presidential elections and will play again parliamentary elections later this year," noted the message from Freeland.
"Canada stands with Ukraine and its vibrant democracy!" her post concludes.
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