Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians shouldn’t fall for Vladimir Putin’s propaganda after the Russian president appeared in an interview with U.S. media personality Tucker Carlson.
Putin used the interview to mock Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Canadian officials for applauding Yaroslav Hunka during Zelenskyy’s visit to Parliament in September.
Hunka was introduced in the House as a Ukrainian-Canadian veteran who fought against the Soviet Union in the Second World War. It was later revealed that Hunka was part of a division of Ukrainian volunteers under Nazi command.
Trudeau was asked during a press conference Friday about Putin using the diplomatic embarrassment to mock Canada and its ally.
“[Putin] will, of course, use whatever propaganda he can engage in, but I can tell you Canadians will not be fooled,” the prime minister said.
Putin has claimed repeatedly he is waging war on Ukraine to “de-Nazify” the country and has used the Hunka affair in an attempt to justify his actions in the past.
During his interview with Carlson, which was posted on the social media platform X, Putin pointed to the Hunka incident to support his claims.
“The president of Ukraine stood up with the entire Parliament of Canada and applauded this man. How can this be imagined?” Putin said through a translator.
Western allies, including Canada, have pushed back against those claims, calling Russia’s full-scale invasion a blatant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Trudeau said Putin’s comments on the Hunka incident were an attempt to “distract” from his real motivations for launching the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
“Putin chose to invade a neighbouring sovereign country, violating the rights, the sovereignty, the territorial integrity of Ukraine and violating the rules-based order that underpins the safety, the security of all of us living in free democracies around the world,” he said.