Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed his regret over the Polish Sejm’s decision to recognize the Volyn massacre in Poland as genocide, explaining that many will attempt to use it for political speculation, Interfax-Ukraine reported.
"I regret the decision of the Polish Sejm. I know many will want to use it for political speculation,” Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page.
The Ukrainian President called on Poland to pursue mutual forgiveness, and to continue cooperation in assessing the tragedy.
"We should go back to the commandment of John Paul II - forgive and ask for forgiveness. Only through joint steps can we come to Christian reconciliation and unity. Only together we can find out all the facts of the tragic pages of our common history,” he wrote.
Poroshenko also expressed confidence that Ukraine and Poland will continue to “move along this path” towards reconciliation and unity.
On July 22, the Polish Sejm adopted a resolution establishing July 11 as a National Day of Remembrance for victims of the genocide committed against the citizens of Poland.
432 MPs voted in favor of the resolution, zero voted against, and ten abstained.
The Volyn massacre was part of an ethnic cleansing operation carried out in Nazi-occupied Poland at the hands of members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) during World War II. The violence culminated on July 11, 1943, when 150 Polish settlements were attacked. Historians estimate that from 1943-1944, 100,000 Poles were killed in Volyn and eastern Galicia.
On June 8, the Upper Chamber of the Polish Parliament also recognized the tragedy as genocide. The resolution also expressed gratitude to those Ukrainians who risked their lives to save Poles by helping them escape.
Earlier this month, while attending the NATO summit in Warsaw, Poroshenko and Nadiya Savchenko visited a memorial to the Volyn massacre, where the Ukrainian President knelt before the monument to the victims.