Polish leader recalls 1943 slaughter of Poles by Ukrainians

AP News
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Posted: Jul 11, 2016 9:38 AM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The leader of Poland's ruling conservative party on Monday commemorated a massacre of Poles by Ukrainians during World War II, describing it as genocide.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, head of the Law and Justice party, laid flowers at a monument in Warsaw to the victims of the Volyn massacre on the 73th anniversary of a key moment in the killings.

"We must never let this crime against Poles and any such crime be overlooked, relativized or described as anything but genocide," he said.

Several days earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko also visited the memorial site to pay tribute to the Polish victims, accompanied by Ukrainian pilot and lawmaker Nadiya Savchenko.

Though older Poles still harbor bitter memories about the killings, overall ties remain strong between Poland and Ukraine, both countries that were formerly under Moscow's sway and which have sought closer ties with the West.

From 1943-1944, Ukrainian nationalists killed up to 100,000 Poles in Volyn and eastern Galica, areas then in Poland but now in Ukraine. The peak of the killings, which involved Poles being butchered with axes and saws, was on July 11, 1943.

About 20,000 Ukrainians were also killed by Poles.