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Ukraine: Joint resolution possible over WWII massacres of Poles

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 18.06.2013 13:05
Ukraine's ambassador in Poland has said a joint resolution over massacres of ethnic Poles by Ukrainian guerillas during WWII is possible, as the 70th anniversary of the killings approaches.

Polish victims in Volhynia: wikipedia

Representatives of Ukraine's Committee for Understanding Between Nations arrived in Warsaw today for further discussions on the matter.

“The main idea of these talks is to prevent the cultivation of memory from being turned into a tool that destroys understanding,” said Ambassador Markiyan Malski, in an interview with Polish Radio.

Malski said he is hoping for support from both Polish and Ukrainian bishops.

Although the committee is technically non-governmental, Malski noted that the group includes such figures as former president of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk.

Next month will see the 70th anniversary of the zenith of atrocities against ethnic Poles. The main action was launched on 11 July 1943.

The killings took place at about 100 localities in Nazi-occupied Volhynia, formerly a region of south east Poland.

Units of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a guerilla force of Ukrainian nationalists, carried out the actions. The purpose of the attacks was to cleanse the region of ethnic Poles, paving the way for the creation of a Ukrainian state after the Second World War.

From 1943 to 1945, it is estimated that 100,000 Poles were killed in the Volhynia area.

After the UPA strikes began, Poles began to fight back, mainly through units of the underground Home Army (AK).

It is estimated that Poles killed between 2000-3000 Ukrainians in Volhynia, and about 20,000 more when the fighting spread to other areas of south east Poland (1944-1947).

Various drafts of a Polish resolution have been proposed in recent weeks by the parliamentary clubs of the country's political parties.

The most controversial question has been whether to use the word 'genocide' to describe the attacks.

Chief coalition partner Civic Platform did not use the word in its original draft. However, junior partner the Polish Peasants Party did.

Dominant opposition party, the conservative Law and Justice, also used the word genocide in its draft.

It is not clear at present whether any Ukrainian declaration would use the word. (nh)

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