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Former Ukrainian diplomat sees risk of rifts with Poland after Duda’s election

May 25, 2015, 17:08 UTC+3 KIEV
Duda belongs with the political entourage of the Kaczynski brothers putting emphasis on general history and loading the bilateral agenda with the issue of dramatic and controversial pages of history
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Andrzej Duda

Andrzej Duda


KIEV, May 25. /TASS/. Ukraine’s former consul-general in Edinburgh and Istanbul, Bogdan Yaryomenko, warns of the possibility of a certain worsening in relations between Kiev and Warsaw following Andrzej Duda’s victory in last Sunday’s presidential election runoff in Poland.

Yaryomenko, who currently chairs the board of the Maidan of Foreign Affairs foundation, told the Ukrainian magazine Observer he eyes with caution Duda’s nationalistic views. The former Ukrainian diplomat said his conclusions were based on thorough analysis of Duda’s political past.

"Duda belongs with the political entourage of the Kaczynski brothers. This is a rather nationalistic force fond of putting emphasis on general history and loading the bilateral agenda with the issue of dramatic and controversial pages of history. No tragic consequences are due, of course, but certain tensions may follow," Yaryomenko said.

Asked if under the new president Poland would remain Ukraine’s main partner and lobbyist for Ukraine’s interests in the European Union, Yaryomenko said "there are no reasons for revising that for the time being."

"Poland itself needs this to a certain extent, because it derives certain political dividends from that," he said.

In the meantime, the law on recognizing the activities of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-Ukrainian Insurgent Army as struggle for the country’s independence, which the Ukrainian parliament adopted on April 9 remains a stumbling block in Ukrainian-Polish relations.

"The Polish side is unable to accept this viewpoint," the incumbent president, Bronislaw Komorowski, has told the daily Rzeczpospolita in an interview. "We will not change our opinion of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, because we have been able to feel for themselves the negative results of their activity. I see this as a threat to a Polish-Ukrainian rapprochement. He believes that the lack of an opportunity to hold a discussion over the OUN and UIA ruins the Polish-Ukrainian dialogue on history matters.

During World War II the OUN collaborated with the Nazis and began subversive operations against Soviet government. In 1943 it established the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. With active support from OUN members the Nazis created the Waffen-SS division Galichina. According to some sources OUN-UP is responsible for no less than one million deaths. The Volyn massacre alone claimed the lives of about 200,000 Poles.

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