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Poland’s Sejm passes resolution on Volhynia genocide

July 22, 13:22 UTC+3
Volhynia genocide refers to the crimes committed by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) against the Poles in Volhynia between 1943 and 1945
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© EPA/RAFAL GUZ

WARSAW, July 22. /TASS/. The lower house of the Polish parliament (Sejm) has passed a resolution describing the crimes committed by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) against the Poles in Volhynia between 1943 and 1945 as genocide. The draft resolution was supported by 432 lawmakers, none of them voted against, and 10 abstained.

The Sejm resolution "declares July 11 Day of commemoration in memory of the Poles who fell victim to the genocide committed by OUN-UPA (outlawed in Russia) and pays homage to the victims of the genocide committed by Ukrainian nationalists against citizens of the Second Polish Republic in 1943-1945."

"The genocide committed from 1943 to 1945 resulted in the massacres of more than 100,000 citizens of the Second Polish Republic, mostly peasants. Their exact number is still unknown, and many of them have not been buried with dignity to date," the resolution says. "The memories of the victims of the crimes committed by Ukrainian nationalists in the 1940s have not been duly cherished until now, and mass murders were not called genocide in accordance with historical truth."

Polish parliamentarians also mentioned repressions committed by the Poles. "While recalling the atrocities of Ukrainian nationalists, one cannot turn a blind eye to reprisal actions in Ukrainian villages that too claimed the lives of civilians," the document said.

Volhynia tragedy

The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) was an ultra-right political organization that operated mainly in western Ukraine. To achieve its goal - creating an independent Ukraine - the OUN relied on the use of violence, including terrorist attacks.

During World War II the OUN began fighting the Soviet regime in collaboration with the German intelligence agencies. In 1943 it organized the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) (outlawed in Russia).

In February 1943, Ukrainian nationalists started a campaign to annihilate the Polish population of Volhynia. These events reached their climax on July 11, 1943, when OUN-UPA units attacked nearly 100 Polish populated localities killing about 100,000 people, above all, women, children and the elderly.

In 2013, Poland’s Sejm passed a resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Volhynia tragedy describing these tragic events as "ethnic cleansing with elements of genocide." However, the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada) recognized the OUN-UPA activities struggle for Ukraine’s independence in 2015.

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