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Ukraine calls for avoiding politicization of Volhynia tragedy — ministry

July 08, 17:07 UTC+3 KIEV
The Polish population in Volhynia, a historical region in the north-west of modern Ukraine, was massacred by Ukrainian nationalists during World War II
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Graves of Poles murdered by a branch of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in 1943, in Kiselin, Ukraine

Graves of Poles murdered by a branch of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in 1943, in Kiselin, Ukraine

© EPA/JACEK TURCZYK

KIEV, July 8 /TASS/. Ukrainian and Polish politicians should study and analyze the Volhynia tragedy in a bid to avoid its politicization, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marian Betsa said.

"We are still pondering on our reaction. Preliminarily, I can say that we have raised that issue many times with an aim to avoid its politicization. It should be considered exclusively by historians of the two countries," Betsa said commenting on the Polish Senate’s decision to recognize the Volhynia massacre as genocide of the Polish people.

Earlier on Friday, the Polish Senate urged the Sejm, the Polish parliament’s lower house, to recognize as genocide the massacre of the Polish population in Volhynia, a historical region in the north-west of modern Ukraine, by Ukrainian nationalists during World War II.

"The Law and Justice party in the Polish Senate voted for the adoption of a resolution on the Volhynia tragedy. The upper house of the Polish parliament urged the Sejm to announce July 11 a national day of memory for the victims of genocide committed by Ukrainian nationalists against the citizens of the Second Polish Republic (Polish: Druga Rzeczpospolita), which existed between the two world wars from 1918 to 1945," Radio Poland said.

The Senate resolution calls the Poles who died at the hands of Ukrainian nationalists during WWII "victims of genocide" and notes that the memory of the victims of those crimes committed by Ukrainian nationalists 40 years ago has never been perpetuated and the mass murders have not been recognized as genocide.

In June 2013, the Polish Senate passed a resolution classifying the Volhynia massacre as ethnic cleansing with elements of genocide.

The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) is an ultra-right political organization (banned in Russia) which operated predominantly in the territory of Western Ukraine during WWII. In collaboration with German reconnaissance bodies, OUN fought against the Soviet rule. In February 1943, Ukrainian nationalists started mass extermination of the Polish population of Volhynia. The campaign reached its peak in July-August 1943. On July 11, 1943, the units of OUN - UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) attacked about 100 Polish populated localities and killed about 100,000 Poles, mainly women, children and old people.

The killings’ main purpose was to purge all non-Ukrainians from a future Ukrainian state.

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