SIMFEROPOL, January 2. /TASS/. Crimea’s Head Sergei Aksyonov has described the torchlight march to mark the 111th birth anniversary of leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN, outlawed in Russia) Stepan Bandera held in Kiev on January 1 as an insult to the memories of millions of victims of Nazism.
"Nazis’ torchlight processions have once again been held in Ukraine. This is another slap in the face of millions of people, another insult to the memories of millions of victims of Nazism," he wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday. "If the neighboring country, as its leaders say, is moving towards Europe, that is Europe, or, rather, Germany of the 1930s."
Stepan Bandera, leader of the 20th-century Ukrainian nationalist movement, closely collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. The extreme right wing Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists was active mostly in western Ukraine. During World War II, the OUN collaborated with Nazi intelligence and waged a war against the Soviet authorities. In 1943, it established the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).
OUN and UPA mercenaries were guilty of committing numerous crimes, killing more than 100,000 Poles, Czechs, and Jews during a massacre in the Volyn Region. They also murdered thousands of Ukrainians who refused to collaborate with the OUN.
In 2019, the Ukrainian parliament added Bandera’s birthday to the national list of memorable dates. The Lvov Region declared 2019 as the year of Stepan Bandera and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.