Czech Republic is unhappy with Ukraine's law recognizing OUN and UPA veterans as fighters for independence

The President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman "publicly called on Prague to officially protest against the glorification of Ukraine's war criminals,” his representative Jiří Ovčáček wrote on Twitter, Radio Svoboda reports. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, particularly its head, Tomáš Petříček ‘fearfully keeps silent’ regarding the glorification of Bandera’s followers in Ukraine,” the statement said.

Petříček responded to Ovčáček’s statement by saying he would discuss this topic with his colleagues next year. "Ukraine will have to handle the ‘painful periods’ of history itself. This needs time. I will talk about this with my colleagues during the visit to Ukraine at the start of next year,” Petříček said.

The Czech Minister noted that he would like to discuss this topic in person, not through the media. "Each country should handle difficult episodes of history by itself. It is not diplomacy's business to evaluate or explore history; that is the historian's business,” he Foreign Minister explained.

On December 23, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed the law that recognizes veterans of the OUN and UPA as combatants for Ukraine’s independence. The law extended the list of UPA soldiers that have right to government benefits. This includes "individuals that took part in all forms of armed struggle for the Independence of Ukraine… as part of the Ukrainian insurgent army, the Ukrainian insurgent army of Ataman Taras Borovets (Bulba) “Polisska sich”, the Ukrainian People's revolutionary Army, armed units of the organization of Ukrainian nationalists and, according to the Law of Ukraine ‘On the legal status and remembrance of the fighters for the independence of Ukraine in XX century’ they were recognized as fighters for the Independence of Ukraine.”

The International Courts did not recognize these organizations as war criminals, but the Russian government has often made statements to that effect. President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman is known for his support for lifting the EU sanctions against Russia. Zeman also recognize Russia’s annexation of the Crimea if it compensates Ukraine for it.

  Milos Zeman, Czech Republic, Ukraine, OUN, Poroshenko, Verkhovna Rada