Oleh Tyahnibok, head of the parliamentary faction of the radical nationalistic party Svoboda (Freedom), said on his Facebook page that the draft law suggested recognizing OUN-UPA (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists — Ukrainian Insurgent Army) members as “freedom fighters.”
In September, replying to a question about his attitude towards OUN-UPA, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said it was “a good time” to speak about people who “defend their country.”
In his inaugural address, he mentioned UPA fighters as “an example of heroism in Ukraine.”
UPA fought mostly against the Armia Krajowa of Poland, the Red Army and Soviet guerrilla fighters in Western Ukraine. The OUN-UPA men, whom people began to call the Bandera men, by the name of their leader, are guilty of numerous crimes. For example, they physically destroyed some 100,000 Poles, Czechs and Jews in the Western Volyn Region. Thousands of Ukrainians, who refused to cooperate with OUN, were also brutally murdered. For all those crimes, as well as for terrorist activities on the Polish territory before the war, Bandera is now regarded as a criminal and terrorist in Poland.
During the years of his presidency Viktor Yushchenko rehabilitated UPA veterans and conferred posthumously the title of Hero of Ukraine to UPA commander Roman Shukhevich.
Yushchenko also awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine to Stepan Bandera, leader of the Ukrainian nationalist and independence movement, posthumously in 2010.
However, under President Viktor Yanukovych, Ukrainian courts stripped Bandera of the title.