Polish-Ukrainian friendship hides a bitter, bloody history

Polish-Ukrainian friendship hides a bitter, bloody history

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Such topics were off-limits during the Soviet era, when Ukraine was a Soviet republic and Moscow also controlled Poland.

Historians say that more than 100,000 Poles, including women and young children, died at the hands of their Ukrainian neighbors in what was then southeastern Poland and is now mostly Ukraine.

The peak of the violence was on July 11, 1943, known as “Bloody Sunday”, when Ukrainian rebel fighters launched coordinated attacks on people praying in or leaving churches in more than 100 villages, mainly in the Volhynia region.

Polish officials insist that only the full truth can strengthen the nations’ ties.

Poles were enraged in January when Ukraine’s parliament remembered Bandera on the 114th anniversary of his birth by tweeting a picture of the current commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces against Bandera’s portrait. The post was later removed.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki then stated that his government “took an extremely critical attitude towards any glorification or commemoration of Bandera.”

After meeting with Zelensky on Wednesday, Morawiecki said the two talked about the crimes and requested Poland to fulfill a request on Polish victims, which Ukraine has so far banned.

Morawiecki said, “Our history was very difficult and today is the chance to rewrite this history and base it on truth.”

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