Polish Foreign Minister refuses to visit Museum-Memorial of Victims of Occupation Regimes in Lviv

Witold Waszczykowski, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, who was in Lviv on an official visit, refused to visit the National Museum-Memorial of Victims of the Occupation Regimes “Prison on Lontshoko” because of the museum director’s statement that Poland occupied Western Ukraine in 1918.

Radio Liberty reported that Waszczykowski laid flowers at the monument to the victims of communist crimes near the “Prison on Lontshoko.” The program included a visit to the museum, but the Polish minister, on getting to the entrance, turned around and refused to go in.

“The minister asked me if Western Ukraine was occupied in 1918. I replied that yes, it was an occupation. Then he turned sharply from the entrance and did not go into the museum. It was, in my opinion, done deliberately, this is a deliberate political step,” said museum director of Ruslan Zabily.

Earlier, on November 5, Witold Waszczykowski stated to representatives of the Polish media in Lviv that Poland expects Ukraine to take real steps to facilitate reconciliation between Ukraine and Poland in historical matters that involve both countries. He said that the Ukrainian memorials, erected illegally in Poland and without the consent of Polish authorities, should be recognized as illegal, and the local government is responsible for taking them down.

At the same time, the Polish minister did not directly answer the question about the unauthorized Polish memorials which were built in Ukraine without the consent of Ukrainian authorities and without compliance with Ukrainian legislation. According to the Ukrainian National Memory Institute, there are about 150 such monuments in Ukraine. In particular these include Polish memorials at the Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv.

In recent years, the National Memory Institutes of Ukraine and Poland have held five forums, which were meetings of historians where complex issues of the countries’ joint history were discussed. However, according to Minister Witold Waszczykowski, the result of this work is not evident today.

Earlier it was reported that Poland can deny the entry of Ukrainians who adhere to extremely anti-Polish views with regard to general history.

This summer, Waszczykowski said that Ukraine will not join the EU if it makes a hero of Stepan Bandera. Earlier, a similar statement was made by the leader of the ruling party in the country, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

  Witold Waszczykowski, Poland, Ukraine