WANTED Ukrainian nazi war criminal Vladimir Katriuk has died in Canada, the country which sheltered him for 16 years, his lawyer said on Thursday.
Mr Katriuk was number two on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s list of most-wanted Nazi war criminals.
News of Mr Katriuk’s death emerged shortly after the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said that Canada should ensure that he be held accountable if he were found guilty of war crimes. According to war reports, Mr Katriuk was a member of a Ukrainian battalion of the SS, the elite nazi storm troops, between 1942 and 1944. Russia charged Mr Katriuk earlier this month with genocide in connection with the 1943 massacre of civilians in Khatyn in Belarus.
He was among a group of Ukrainian fascist collaborators who herded villagers into a barn before setting it ablaze.
In a 2012 study historian Per Anders Rudling of Lund University in Sweden said: “One witness stated that Volodymyr Katriuk was a particularly active participant in the atrocity — he reportedly lay behind the stationary machine-gun, firing rounds on anyone attempting to escape the flames.”
The Russian embassy in Ottawa asked the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to extradite the Nazi war criminal. But Mr Harper’s government, which has courted the support of right-wing Ukrainian immigrants, ignored the request on the pretext that Russia had annexed the Crimea and was interfering in Ukraine.
Some two million Byelorussians — a quarter of the population — were systematically exterminated by the nazis and their allies in World War II.