Omnibus Russia Ukraine crisis

Twin_Moose

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spaminator

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House debate ends over 'hero's welcome' for Waffen SS member in Parliament
The incident happened on Sept. 22

Author of the article:postmedia News
Published Oct 20, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 1 minute read

The public debate over a Waffen SS member being given a hero’s welcome on Parliament Hill last month is over.


Blacklock’s Reporter reports the House affairs committee dropped further public discussion into how Yaroslav Hunka, 98, of North Bay, was presented in this way to the Commons by his MP, then-Speaker Anthony Rota, on Sept. 22.


“What we have is the cover-up coalition at work yet again seeking to go behind closed doors rather than to deal with this matter openly and transparently to get to the bottom of one of the greatest international embarrassments,” said Conservative MP Michael Cooper (St. Albert-Edmonton).

But a majority of MPs voted instead to discuss the slip in private, then adjourned the meeting without comment.

Rota resigned Sept. 26 after saying he didn’t realize Hunka fought for the Germans in World War II.

Hunka volunteered with the 14 Waffen SS Grenadier Division and told the Ukrainian-language Combatant News in 2011 that he was interned as an enemy prisoner of war in 1945 but enjoyed “a profitable and affluent life in Canada.”
 

petros

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spaminator

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Ukrainian officers investigated for holding awards ceremony struck by Russia, killing 19 soldiers
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Hanna Arhirova
Published Nov 06, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine on Monday launched a criminal investigation into military officers who organized a troop-honouring ceremony that was hit by a Russian missile strike, killing 19 soldiers in one of the deadliest single attacks reported by Ukrainian forces.


The State Bureau of Investigation said it aims to hold military officials accountable for the Rocket Forces and Artillery Day event held Friday near the front line in Zaporizhzhia, where Russian reconnaissance drones could easily spot the crowded gathering.


The carnage sparked a wave of criticism among Ukrainians who questioned on social media the planning of an event so close to the battlefield. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy lamented the deaths of the men of the 128th Separate Mountain-Assault Brigade of Zakarpattia as a “tragedy that could’ve been avoided.”

The investigation announcement came as officials said Russian drone and missile strikes in the city of Odesa wounded eight people and damaged an art museum that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, and satellite photos showed damage done by a Ukrainian missile strike to a Russian naval ship.


Odesa’s National Art Museum said seven exhibitions, most featuring the work of contemporary Ukrainian artists, were damaged by a strike that left a large crater outside the museum, which was celebrating its 124th anniversary.

Photos and video showed shattered windows, doors, and some paintings lying on the floor amid debris strewn across the galleries.

The attack followed reports by the Russian Defence Ministry that Ukrainian cruise missiles aimed at the Zaliv shipyard in Kerch, a city in the east of the Moscow-held Crimean Peninsula, had struck one of its vessels.

Satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press showed damage to a Russian navy corvette moored off Kerch.

The satellite pictures Sunday from Planet Labs PBC show what appeared to be a firefighting vessel, as well as booms in the water to stop oil leaks from the damaged ship. What appeared to be burn marks can be seen on the vessel, which was still afloat. Those marks were not visible on other satellite images captured of the vessel at port.


The measurements of the vessel and its shape correspond with a Karakurt-class corvette. In Russian, “karakurt” means “Black Widow spider.”

The ships are designed to carry Kalibr cruise missiles, the same kind of missiles that Moscow has used repeatedly against Ukrainian targets since launching the all-out war on the neighbouring country in February 2022.

The Russian Defence Ministry said late Saturday that Ukrainian forces fired 15 cruise missiles at the Zaliv shipyard in Kerch, with at least two striking a ship and the shipyard.

Lt. Gen. Mykola Oleshchuk, the commander of Ukraine’s air force, later wrote in an online message that he believed the strike targeted a vessel carrying Kalibrs. He also suggested Kyiv used long-range French Scalp cruise missiles in the attack.


Andriy Ryzhenko, a captain in the Ukrainian naval reserve, had told Ukrainian media he believed the vessel struck by the missile was the Askold. That Karakurt-class corvette was being built at the port when Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Kerch and the shipyard in July 2020.

The Crimean Peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014, has been a frequent target since Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Crimea has served as the key hub supporting the invasion.

Between Sunday and Monday, a 77-year-old man was killed and at least 16 people were injured by Russian shelling and airstrikes in southeastern Ukraine, the country’s presidential office said.

The attacks on Odesa also damaged grain warehouses and homes. The bomb blast in front of the fine arts museum caused damage to the building and collections but there was no immediate assessment of the scale of destruction, a spokesperson for the UN cultural agency said.

UNESCO “strongly” condemned the attack on the museum, saying on X, formerly Twitter, that: “Cultural sites must be protected in accordance with international law.”

It was the second time the museum has been damaged during the ongoing war. In July 2022, a blast destroyed the historic glass roof and windows of the museum.

— Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Yuras Karmanau in Tallinn, Estonia, and Brian Melley in London contributed to this report.
 

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Event to discuss the Waffen SS cancelled after U of A professors complain about Nazi whitewashing
The University of Alberta has held several online discussions since Yaroslav Hunka was given two standing ovations in the House of Commons.


Author of the article:David Pugliese • Ottawa Citizen
Published Nov 07, 2023 • Last updated 12 hours ago • 4 minute read

A panel to discuss the Waffen SS was quietly cancelled at the University of Alberta after professors there complained that the institution continues to engage in whitewashing Nazi crimes.


The university has held a number of online discussions since it was revealed that Yaroslav Hunka, a Ukrainian-Canadian veteran who served in the Waffen SS, was given two standing ovations as he was honoured in the House of Commons on Sept. 22. Speakers at those events have claimed that Hunka’s unit, the 14th Waffen SS Galicia, wasn’t involved in any war crimes and that such claims are Russian disinformation.

But when another online discussion was planned for the Jewish Sabbath on Oct. 14, once again organized by the university’s Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, it was too much for some professors. They filed complaints to the university’s administration alleging the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies or CIUS was engaged in whitewashing Nazi collaborators and war crimes.


“I don’t understand this upside-down universe where people here admire the Waffen SS and somehow that’s okay,” said Karyn Ball, a University of Alberta professor and Holocaust scholar. “It doesn’t embarrass the people at my university very much that they have a (group) that has been laundering Waffen SS reputations and funds for years now.”

The event organized by the CIUS, which had received a $30,000 endowment from Hunka’s family, was eventually cancelled.

Poland and Jewish groups have denounced Waffen SS Galicia for its role in killing civilians and its involvement in massacres during the Second World War. The division was also used by the Nazis to crush a national uprising in Slovakia, again prompting allegations of war crimes.


The CIUS did not respond to a request for comment.

University of Alberta spokesman Michael Brown said the online panel event “was cancelled after scheduling changes.”

He did not indicate if it would be held at a later date. Brown did not comment about calls to disband the CSIU or allegations it has been involved in whitewashing the pasts of Nazi collaborators.

Brown noted an earlier statement from Verna Yiu, the university’s vice-president of academics, who announced the money from Hunka’s family would be returned. “On behalf of the university, I want to express our commitment to address anti-Semitism in any of its manifestations, including the ways in which the Holocaust continues to resonate in the present,” she stated.


Laurie Adkin, a U of A political scientist, has called on the university to investigate the CIUS’s funding and activities.

A recent article in the media outlet Progress Report outlined how the university not only took money from Hunka and other Waffen SS members but also accepted funds from the estate of Volodymyr Kubijovyč, a Nazi collaborator who founded Waffen SS Galicia and advocated for ethnic cleansing to create an independent Ukraine without Jews or Poles.

Peter Savaryn, who served as U of A’s chancellor from 1982 to 1986, was also a veteran of the Waffen SS Galicia division, the same unit as Hunka. He helped fund the CIUS.

Governor General Mary Simon apologized on Oct. 4 for the fact that Savaryn had been awarded the Order of Canada in 1987. The Waffen SS soldier died in 2017.


Some nationalist Ukrainian-Canadians see members of Waffen SS Galicia as heroes for their battles against Soviet forces who were, along with Canada, the United States and Britain, part of a coalition to defeat Nazi Germany.

Monuments honouring the Ukrainian SS troops have been erected in Oakville, Ont., and Edmonton.

B’nai Brith Canada and the Canadian Polish Congress have jointly called for the removal of those monuments to the soldiers who swore allegiance to Adolf Hitler. Neo-Nazis have recently visited the Oakville monument so they can pay homage to the Waffen SS soldiers.

The division was formed in 1943 when Nazi Germany needed to shore up its forces as Allied troops started to gain the upper hand and turn the tide of the war.


Some critics point out that every Ukrainian Waffen SS soldier, like Hunka and Savaryn who were in battle against the Soviets, freed up a German soldier who could be used to fight Canadians, British and Americans who were advancing towards Berlin.

Others point out that some 40,000 Ukrainian-Canadians fought in Canada’s military against the Nazis yet no monuments have been erected to honour them and none have been honoured in the House of Commons.

“There are so many Ukrainian Canadians who have made worthwhile, admirable and heroic contributions who we could be admiring instead,” Ball said.

After the war, the International Military Tribunal declared the SS to be a criminal organization. That included the units of the Waffen SS.


In the 1980s, an examination of war criminals in Canada found there were 600 former members of SS Galicia still living in Canada. Justice Jules Deschenes, who headed the commission, concluded that membership in the division did not itself constitute a war crime.

Deschenes’s commission has been criticized by some Jews as well as historians for failing to delve too deeply into the war criminal issue.

In 2005, the release of new documents from the British government archives outlined warnings about the members of SS Galicia and efforts to dump them in Canada.

“The Division was an SS division and technically all of its officers and senior NCOs are liable for trial as war criminals,” one report for the British government noted.

In another report from 1948, British government official Beryl Hughes talked about efforts to send SS members to Canada. “What little we know of their war record is bad,” wrote Hughes, who was handling the issue for Britain’s Home Office. “We’re still hoping to get rid of the less desirable Ukrainian PoWs either to Germany or Canada.”
 

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Ukrainian children abducted by Russia appeal for help from Canadian MPs
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Laura Osman
Published Nov 07, 2023 • 4 minute read
Ukrainian children abducted by Russia during its assault on their country are sharing the stories of their captivity with Canadian parliamentarians, in hopes they will help rescue others.
Ukrainian children abducted by Russia during its assault on their country are sharing the stories of their captivity with Canadian parliamentarians, in hopes they will help rescue others.
OTTAWA — Tetiana Bodak’s mind flooded with questions one year ago when she picked up the phone and learned her son had been kidnapped from their home in the Kherson region of Ukraine.


The war in Ukraine had already been raging for months when 16-year-old Vladyslav Rudenko called his mother to tell her he had been taken to a nearby Russian-occupied territory and was waiting on a bus that would take him to Crimea.


“How could they do it without even my knowledge?” Bodak said in Ukrainian through an interpreter. “Who took you from the house?”

She could still communicate with him while the bus carried him toward Crimea, a Russian-occupied peninsula south of Ukraine. But once he arrived, she didn’t hear from her son for two months.

The mother and son shared the story of his captivity and desperate bid to escape with a House of Commons subcommittee on international human rights on Tuesday in hopes Canadian parliamentarians will help rescue others.


Rudenko and three other teenagers described being separated from their families and forcibly taken from Ukraine to camps in Russia or Russian-occupied territories. They appeared over video conference from Ukraine and communicated through interpreters.

They told MPs they weren’t allowed to speak Ukrainian at the camps. Instead, they were pressured to accept Russian passports.

“We were forced to learn and sing the Russian national anthem each week at a certain time and if we refused, we were admonished for it,” Anastasiia Motychak, 16, told the subcommittee through an interpreter.




Several of them described attempts by Russian authorities to place them and their peers in Russian foster care.

That’s what happened to Kseniia Koldin’s 12-year-old brother. The two were already orphans when they were taken to Russia. Koldin, 18, discovered a way to get back to Ukraine, but had to plead with her brother to leave his new foster family in Russia.

“I was trying to explain to him that if he does not go now, then we will not see each other and we will not be able to be together as a family,” Koldin said through an interpreter.

The brother and sister have since returned to Ukraine, where he lives with a Ukrainian foster family.

Several of the teens described experiencing or witnessing abuse at the hands of the Russians who abducted them, including Denys Berezhnyi, 18, who said he was denied access to the insulin he needed to manage his diabetes.


“After a month, I was really feeling bad because I had no more insulin and an ambulance took me to an ICU unit,” he said through an interpreter.

Children at the camps were as young as six years old, they said.

Rudenko said he stole the Russian flag from the flagpole at the camp and was put into a “punishment cell” for a week.

“I spent a week with no communication, with no phone, nobody was allowed to go in and speak with me,” he said in Ukrainian through an interpreter.

“I had suicidal thoughts in there.”

It wasn’t until his mother described her harrowing journey to rescue her son that Rudenko broke down before the committee, taking off his headset and putting his head in his hands to hide his tears.

She said she travelled to the border with Belarus, through Russia to Crimea and into the occupied town of Lazurne, enduring several hours-long interrogations along the way.


“They placed a hood on my head so that I wouldn’t be able to see where they’re taking me,” Bodak said.

“They were all carrying weapons and I knew that they could do anything they wanted, but thank God, they took me to my son.”

The two weren’t allowed to leave Russia for five days, she said. Eventually they were released, but only after they agreed to record a video disavowing the organization that helped her reunite with her son.

The children who testified Tuesday were all rescued with the help of Save Ukraine, an organization dedicated to repatriating and rehabilitating abducted Ukrainian children.

Conservative MP Garnett Genuis’s office worked with Save Ukraine to identify the children who who appeared as witnesses and the committee agreed to hear their testimony.


Save Ukraine CEO Mykola Kuleba wouldn’t share with the committee how his organization rescues the children because of the great personal risk taken by volunteers. He said it’s much more difficult to rescue younger children, who can’t track down their own families through social media.

Those who remain in Russia are stripped of their Ukrainian identities, he testified.

“I appeal to you today to use your voices to condemn Russian forcible transfer of Ukrainian children as genocide and to pursue accountability for perpetrators of this devastating crime,” he told MPs over video conference from Ukraine.

It is unclear how many children have been taken to Russia or territories it controls in Ukraine, but Save the Children, another group that testified at the committee, said Ukrainian and Russian estimates of that number range from 2,000 to 20,000.


“Although we cannot say for certain the scale of the issue and how many children have been affected, we do know that the situation becomes increasingly complex as time passes for every single child,” said Kateryna Lytvynenko, the humanitarian policy and advocacy manager for Save the Children.

“Canada can play a big role in finding a solution.”

In particular, Canada can help reunite abducted children with their families by encouraging other countries to broker communications between Ukrainian and Russian officials, she said.

The subcommittee will likely release a statement with specific recommendations about how Canada can support efforts to recover children and prosecute those responsible for taking them, Genuis said.

“More broadly, I hope that this renews our commitment to preventing the (Vladimir) Putin regime from stealing people anymore.”
 

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A top aide to the commander of Ukraine’s military is killed by a grenade given as a birthday gift
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Illia Novikov And Hanna Arhirova
Published Nov 07, 2023 • 1 minute read

KYIV, Ukraine — A top aide to the commander of Ukraine’s military was killed by a grenade given to him as a birthday gift and not in a targeted attack, the interior minister said.


Maj. Hennadii Chastiakov died in the tragic accident Monday that badly injured his 13-year-old son, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on Telegram.


A colleague presented six new grenades as a gift to Chastiakov, who was a top aide and close friend to Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, for his 39th birthday, Klymenko said.

Chastiakov was showing off the grenades to his family at home when his son took one and began twisting the ring.

“The serviceman then took the grenade from the child and pulled the ring, leading to a tragic explosion,” Klymenko said.

Police are investigating the incident in the village of Chaiky in the Kyiv region.

The officer’s death was the second fatal tragedy in less than a week for Ukraine’s military.


A Ukrainian brigade holding a ceremony in Zaporizhzhia to honor troops on Friday was struck by a Russian missile that killed 19 soldiers, one of the deadliest single attacks reported by Ukrainian forces.

The commander of the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade, Dmytro Lysiuk, was suspended as authorities investigate why the Rocket Forces and Artillery Day event was held near the front line, where Russian reconnaissance drones could easily spot the gathering.

Ukrainian media reported that Lysiuk was late for the ceremony and didn’t suffer injuries.

“It will be determined who specifically violated the rules regarding the safety of people in the area of the enemy’s aerial reconnaissance access,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. “There will be no avoidance of responsibility.”
 

spaminator

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A top aide to the commander of Ukraine’s military is killed by a grenade given as a birthday gift
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Illia Novikov And Hanna Arhirova
Published Nov 07, 2023 • 1 minute read

KYIV, Ukraine — A top aide to the commander of Ukraine’s military was killed by a grenade given to him as a birthday gift and not in a targeted attack, the interior minister said.


Maj. Hennadii Chastiakov died in the tragic accident Monday that badly injured his 13-year-old son, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on Telegram.


A colleague presented six new grenades as a gift to Chastiakov, who was a top aide and close friend to Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, for his 39th birthday, Klymenko said.

Chastiakov was showing off the grenades to his family at home when his son took one and began twisting the ring.

“The serviceman then took the grenade from the child and pulled the ring, leading to a tragic explosion,” Klymenko said.

Police are investigating the incident in the village of Chaiky in the Kyiv region.

The officer’s death was the second fatal tragedy in less than a week for Ukraine’s military.


A Ukrainian brigade holding a ceremony in Zaporizhzhia to honor troops on Friday was struck by a Russian missile that killed 19 soldiers, one of the deadliest single attacks reported by Ukrainian forces.

The commander of the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade, Dmytro Lysiuk, was suspended as authorities investigate why the Rocket Forces and Artillery Day event was held near the front line, where Russian reconnaissance drones could easily spot the gathering.

Ukrainian media reported that Lysiuk was late for the ceremony and didn’t suffer injuries.

“It will be determined who specifically violated the rules regarding the safety of people in the area of the enemy’s aerial reconnaissance access,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. “There will be no avoidance of responsibility.”
 

Twin_Moose

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So from open news... no opsec issues ...
On the kherson area ukr has, issued to units...
Leo 1 many
Amx 10rc... 70ish
M1a1.... 31
And over 1000 other armored combat vehicles...

10+ brigades

200 helicopters that CAN be used.

In addition 2 eng regiments with over 4 km of bridges, or 40+ barges and 100+ small to med boats....

Just saying.....

 
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Twin_Moose

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A year ago, #Ukraine liberated #Kherson (our only major city captured and torn apart by #Russia during the full-scale invasion)… And this event is undoubtedly a clear and powerful message to all.

Firstly, Russia knows how to lose and loves to do it. To lose grandiosely and shamefully.

Secondly, Russia knows and loves to retreat, "advance" negatively.

Thirdly, Russia always declares on the seized territories that "it comes there forever," and immediately this "forever" turns into never, into escape.

Fourthly, Russia seizes Ukrainian territories only to destroy them, to organize mass torture and killings of civilians.

Therefore, leaving anything to Russia is to condemn people to suffering... The main thing is not to fear Russia – it is necessary to press this aggressive country from the past, bring them back to a reasonable state through painful defeats, benches of the accused, and abundant reparations. The defeat of Russia is the contribution of democracies to the future of humanity, to the future of our children.

 
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