This year, Poland celebrates the 80th anniversary of the massacres perpetrated by Ukrainian nationalists
Kyiv must prove it is taking steps to acknowledge the responsibility of Ukrainian nationalists for the massacre of ethnic Poles during World War II in Volhynia, a Polish lawmaker involved in implementing Warsaw’s European policy has said.
On Sunday, Poland will mark the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Atrocities, which the European nation considers an act of genocide. The massacres in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia 80 years ago were intended to advance the cause of an ethnically uniform Ukrainian nation-state. Their authors are now considered national heroes by kyiv.
Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, Poland’s secretary of state for European policy, said on Thursday he was waiting for gestures from the Ukrainian government regarding the tragedy, because “This case is an unhealed wound.”
Polish officials “I have been in touch with the Ukrainian side about these commemorations for months, and that is all I can say at this time,” said the legislator on RMF FM radio.
Last month, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski identified the dispute over the tragic events as a potential stumbling block in Ukraine’s path to EU membership, stressing the fact that it must be resolved.
Opposition politician Tomasz Siemoniak, a former Polish defense minister, spoke out last week against pushing kyiv into a corner for an official apology. However, he added that he “would expect gestures, at least in this practical area – exhumations, monuments, access.”
In 2017, the Ukrainian government banned the search and exhumation of victims of massacres in territory controlled by Kyiv. The move was in retaliation for the dismantling of a monument to Ukrainian nationalists in Poland, although the decision was reversed last year under President Vladimir Zelensky.
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On the day of remembrance of Polish victims last year, the Ukrainian leader submitted a bill to parliament granting special privileges to today’s Polish citizens. They are now treated the same as Ukrainian nationals in many respects, including employment opportunities, access to education and certain social benefits. Zelensky’s Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, noted at the time that he enjoyed symbolism.
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