Pawel Jablonski, Poland’s deputy foreign minister, warned last week that the acknowledgment of the WWII-era massacre of 60,000 ethnic Poles by Stepan Bandera, a national hero in Ukraine, remains the biggest obstacle in their relationship that has been tested in recent days.
Bandera, who has been accused by Poles, Russians, and others of carrying out a genocide, was killed six decades ago by Soviet intelligence agents and is still viewed as a father figure by some Ukrainians. Bandera was the head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, which was accused of massacres and ethnic cleansing of Poles and Jews. Poland said as many as 100,000 Poles died in the violence, including women and children.
“There is no possibility of real Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation without settling this issue,” Jablonski said.
The killings occurred from 1943 to 1944 in various towns, including Volhynia, which the Associated Press noted was in eastern Poland at the time, which is now considered western Ukraine. Towns were burned down and many Poles still hold grudges and want an apology, the report said.
The AP reported that the peak of the violence was on 11 July 1943, which is known as “Bloody Sunday.” The report said Ukrainian insurgent fighters “carried out coordinated attacks on Poles praying in or leaving churches in more than 100 villages.”
Warsaw insists that Russia effectively uses this history to drive a wedge between Kyiv and Warsaw and Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Kyiv’s government a team of Nazis.
Putin’s critics say the Kremlin is loose with the Nazi designation and uses it to win support from the public against adversaries. In fact, in his 9 May 2022 Victory Day speech, Putin said that the purpose of the military action was to purge Ukraine of its “Nazi” nationalist leadership.
Viktor Yushchenko, who was the Ukrainian president in 2005, awarded Bandera the title “Hero of Ukraine.” It was later revoked by Viktor Yanukovych, whose government, as we have greatly detailed in Trends Journals, was overthrown with the backing of the United States.
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported extensively on Bandera and how many Ukrainians continue to cling to his murderous Nazi memory as a source of inspiration:
● “POLAND ANGERED BY UKRAINIAN PRAISING NAZI COLLABORATOR” (10 Jan 2023)
● “TOP UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR: HEIL HITLER” (5 Jul 2022)
● “UKRAINIAN CITY CHANGES STREET NAME FOR NAZI HEAD” (29 Nov 2022)
● “FBI WORKED WITH UKRAINE TO SILENCE WAR CRITICS” (13 Jun 2023)
Jablonski admitted that relations between the countries are not at a high point after Kyiv summoned Poland’s top diplomat for calling the country “ungrateful” for the support it received from Warsaw.
“We perceive the Russian aggression in Ukraine as a threat to Polish interests as well,” Jablonski said, according to The First News. “At the same time, we expect understanding from the Ukrainian side for our needs and perspectives.”