“We have to abandon political assessments of the historical past,” said President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on the 75th anniversary of the Volyn tragedy, UNIAN reported.
Poroshenko opposed unilateral political assessments of the common historical past because he claims that they do not contribute to the process of historical reconciliation. The leader of Ukraine stressed that "the tragic conflicts between Ukrainians and Poles during the Second World War" require a thorough investigation that should be dealt with by the historians and scholars of the two countries.
"We will never allow those pages of our history to be politicized," Poroshenko noted and urged Ukrainians and Poles to adopt "Christian mutual forgiveness."
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.