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LUTSK, Ukraine, July 14 (Itar-Tass) - History must not divide the Ukrainian and Polish peoples but bring them closer together promoting cooperation, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said on Sunday at a ceremonial event dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Volyn tragedy in the Western Ukrainian city of Lutsk.
“The past, even the most dramatic, must not divide people. Interpreted honestly, it must serve reconciliation and cooperation between our peoples and our independent states,” he stressed. “I wish this wound be healed in the memory of the two brotherly peoples as soon as possible.”
The Polish president and Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Konstantin Grishchenko attended a church service in memory of the Volyn massacre victims in Lutsk’s St. Peter and Paul Cathedral. The event drew about 2,000 people.
The Volyn tragedy (the Volyn massacre) of 1943 was a conflict accompanied by mass murder of ethnic Polish civilians on the territories of the Volyn-Podillia General District, which was under the control of Poland until September 1939. The conflict began in March 1943 and reached its peak in July of the same year. The response from the Polish side started at the end of summer 1943, resulting in significant casualties among Ukrainian civilians. Ethnic cleansing stopped only after these territories were taken by the Red Army in 1944. The Volyn tragedy claimed about 100,000 human lives.