No progress in dialogue with Ukraine - Polish FM

 



 

2017-11-21 19:42 aktualizacja: 2018-09-30, 15:12
 Fot. Paweł Supernak
Fot. Paweł Supernak
Ukraine is departing from some arrangements and even withdrawing from others. After several years of talks and dialogue, rather than progress we can see regress, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said on Tuesday.

"We are not in dispute with Ukraine, because in the political, diplomatic, military and economic areas little has changed", Minister Waszczykowski told a Polish public radio broadcaster, stressing that Poland continued to support Ukraine's European ambitions and did not accept the annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula by Russia.

 

"However, we have noticed that Ukraine has been departing from some arrangements, and even withdrawing from others, for example those related to exhumations", the minister stressed.

 

In April, the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance imposed a ban on the search and exhumation of Polish victims of wars and conflicts on the Ukrainian territory, after a monument to UPA (see: NOTE) in Hrubieszow, south-east Poland, had been dismantled.

 

"It is up to Ukraine whether it will return to talks, return to the arrangements that we have made together", Waszczykowski said.

 

Asked about a list of Ukrainian officials banned from entering Poland, the minister said that Ukraine had earlier prepared entry bans for some Polish people.

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NOTE: In 1943-44 the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) (co-founded by Ukrainian national hero Stepan Bandera with his Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (UON) faction) mass-slaughtered 35,000–60,000 Polish people in the then eastern-Polish region of Volhynia, and 25,000–40,000 in nearby Eastern Galicia in a purge aimed to cleanse the areas of their Polish population, known as the Volhynia Massacre. The full victim count of the massacre is still debated.

 

On 22 January, 2010, Ukraine's outgoing President Viktor Yushchenko awarded Bandera the posthumous title of Hero of Ukraine, which was condemned by the European Parliament as well as Polish, Russian and Jewish organizations. The following state head, Viktor Yanukovych, declared the title illegal and in January 2011 it was officially annulled. In April 2015, the Supreme Council of Ukraine (Ukrainian parliament - PAP) passed a bill lauding, among others, UPA soldiers as "fighters for the freedom and independence of Ukraine" and forbidding the use of the word "genocide" in the UPA-UON context. The draft of the act was introduced by Yuriy Shukhevych, a son of a UPA commander.

 

Later in 2016, Ukraine blocked the launch and commercial screenings of Polish historical film "Volhynia" ("Wolyn" - PAP) telling the story of the massacre of the Polish people at the hands of Ukrainians.

 

On July 11-12, 1943, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) altogether attacked 150 Polish villages in Poland's former eastern region of Volhynia. About 100,000 Polish nationals were killed in this wave of mass murders.

 

The killing of 173 Polish citizens in the village of Paroslaw is considered to be the first act of the genocidal violence in Volhynia.

 

The Volhynia Massacre was carried out by the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) – Stepan Bandera's faction, UPA and the Ukrainian people, who murdered their Polish neighbours.

 

The killings intensified when in March and April 1943, many Ukrainian policemen ceased cooperating with the Germans and joined the UPA. Many of them had earlier participated in the extermination of Jews.

 

The crimes intensified again in July 1943, when the UPA murdered about 10,000-11,000 Polish people in the districts of Volodymyr-Volynskiy, Kovel, Horokhiv and Lutsk. The crimes were exceptionally cruel; the people were burnt alive, dropped into wells, attacked with hatchets and pierced with pitchforks, and women were raped. The Polish people were murdered in 1,865 sites in total.

 

"The Volhynia Slaughter" not only refers to mass murders committed in the Volhynia area, but also in the Lviv, Tarnopol and Stanislavov provinces as well as those that took place in the Lublin and Polesie provinces.

 

The UPA, led by Roman Shukhevych, began its "anti-Polish" operation in Western Galicia in April 1944. It was not supposed to be as drastic as in Volhynia - the Ukrainians only wanted the Polish people to leave their houses under the threat of death. In case of denial they were only to kill the men, but the reality turned out to be different.

 

The nationalists also killed mixed Polish-Ukrainian families, Ukrainians who refused to participate in the killings and those who helped save the Polish people. "The Book of the Righteous of the Eastern Borderlands", published by Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), states that Ukrainians saved 2,527 Polish people.(PAP)