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Recognition of WWII nationalists as fighters for independence to split Ukraine — DPR head

April 10, 2015, 8:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Ukrainian parliament earlier recognized the activity of Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) — Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as struggle for Ukraine’s independence

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© ITAR-TASS Archive/Maxim Nikitin

MOSCOW, April 10. /TASS/. The parliament of Ukraine, which on Thursday recognized members of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) — Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as fighters for Ukraine’s independence, launched processes that will result in the country’s disintegration, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Alexander Zakharchenko, said.

"The adoption of such a ‘law’ is another attempt to put Russia and Ukraine at loggerheads with one another," Zakharchenko told the Donetsk News Agency.

"A regular attempt to heroize UPA soldiers is no more than a farce. Disgust is what this ‘historic’ event causes. Historic because the victory of fascism officially took shape in Ukraine today," he said.

"Very soon, the majority of Ukraine’s population will realize that their country does not exist any longer; the Ukrainian authorities have triggered irreversible processes that will lead to a complete breakup of the country," Zakharchenko said.

Earlier, plenipotentiary representative of the DPR in the Contact Group on Ukraine Denis Pushilin blasted the adoption by Ukraine’s parliament of the "disgraceful law" on Thursday on recognizing OUN-UPA members as fighters for Ukraine’s independence.

"Our grandfathers ousted the Nazis and their accomplices in the person of [Stepan] Bandera, [Roman] Shukhevich and others not only from their territory but from Europe as well. It is unpleasant to even watch many just put up with their history being rewritten and the memory of our truly heroic ancestors darkened," Pushilin said.

"Could they have caved in to a bunch of radicals and voted nearly unanimously in the Verkhovna Rada for this disgraceful bill? It’s a shame," he told the Donetsk News Agency.

The Rada on Thursday recognized the activity of OUN-UPA as struggle for Ukraine’s independence. In the second reading, lawmakers adopted the law on "Legal status of the participants of the fight for Ukraine’s independence in the 20th century." A total of 271 deputies voted for the law with 226 required.

The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, an ultra-rightwing political organization, operated mostly in the western regions of today’s Ukraine. To reach their goal of creating a ‘self-ruled’ and ‘unaffiliated’ Ukraine it made use of extremist methods and was broadly oriented at chauvinism and xenophobia.

During World War II, the OUN collaborated closely with Hitlerite occupation authorities to launch struggle against the Soviet government. It organized the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in 1943.

The OUN also took an extremely active part in setting up the SS Halichina division. A number of historical and military sources suggest the members of OUN-UPA exterminated no less than a million people, including about 200,000 Poles.

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