Volhynia massacre was an ethnic cleansing and not merely a war between Poland and Ukraine, said the President of Poland Andrzej Duda, as reported by UNIAN.
“This was not a war, this was an ethnic cleansing, to remove Polish people from the areas they lived. 100,000 people were tortured to death”, - noted Polish president. He called the anniversary a very sad date for Polish families.
Duda arrived in Ukraine to take part in the events dedicated to the 75-year anniversary of this tragedy.
Armed conflicts between Poles and Ukrainians began during World War II and continued until 1947. Historian-specialists from Poland distinguish 1943 and the events in the Volyn region as a separate event, known as the Volhynian massacre.
In February 1943, detachments of the OUN–UPA, a Ukrainian insurgent army called the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists started a campaign to annihilate the Polish population of Volhynia. On July 11, 1943, they attacked about 100 Polish villages, claiming the lives of thousands of women, children and the elderly. The Sejm of Poland recognized the Volyn tragedy as genocide against the Polish people.
However, Ukrainian historians take a different view. They are convinced that both sides are responsible for these crimes. Poland believes that as a result of ethnic cleansing, more than a hundred thousand Poles and five to ten thousand Ukrainians were killed. Ukraine says tens of thousands of Poles were killed and up to twenty thousand Ukrainians.
Earlier, in March of this year, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin likened the actions of the nationalists in Volhynia to the actions of the Polish insurgents who had carried out bloody operations against Ukrainian villages. In response, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland Bartosz Cichocki accused Klimkin of "historical illiteracy" and denial of the Volyn crime.