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Poroshenko lays flowers to monument to victims of Volhynia tragedy in Warsaw

July 09, 2:15 UTC+3 KIEV
Ukrainian President lit a candle near the monument and paid homage to the dead
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© EPA/MARCIN OBARA

KIEV, July 8 /TASS/. Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has paid tribute to the memory of the Poles whom Ukrainian nationalists massacred in Volhynia, a historical region in the north-west of modern Ukraine, during WWII, the Ukrainian leader’s press service said on Friday.

"The president accompanied by the Ukrainian delegation, Ukrainian Ambassador to Poland Andrei Deshitsa and Rada deputy Nadezhda Savchenko laid flowers at the monument to the victims of the Vohynia tragedy in Warsaw," the presidential press service said.

Poroshenko lit a candle near the monument and paid homage to the dead, the press service added.

Poroshenko’s move came shortly after the Polish Senate passed a resolution urging the Sejm, the Polish parliament’s lower house, to recognize as genocide the actions of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army against the Polish population in Volhynia, a historical region in the north-west of modern Ukraine, in 1943-1944 on July 8.

The Polish Senate, parliament’s upper house, voted for the adoption of a resolution on the Volhynia tragedy and 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.

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.

A demonstration took place in Warsaw a day earlier on July 7. Its participants demanded that the actions of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army as its military wing in Volhynia during WWII be recognized genocide. The action’s organizers said that any ideology glorifying Ukraine’s nationalist leader Stepan Bandera was banned while the cult of Bandera and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army were a spat in the face of the Poles. The same day, the Kiev City Council voted for renaming the Moscow Avenue in Kiev into a prospect of Stepan Bandera.

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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