Poland presents statement on Polish-Ukrainian historical cooperation

Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance has presented a 29-point statement on Polish-Ukrainian cooperation in the context of exhumation, burials and commemoration of victims of wars and genocide. The institute stated that its works in Ukraine where Poles had been murdered by Ukrainian partisans are “still being blocked.”

In the statement, the institute underlined that it had “always advocated international cooperation – also in the field of national remembrance – maintained in the spirit of partnership, mutual respect and respect for the truth.”

“In the 20th century, both Poles and Ukrainians fell victim to totalitarian powers and the crime of genocide. Remembering those crimes is a universal challenge for both countries. It is expressed by the desire to provide victims of the crime with a dignified burial and opposition to any form of idealizing military structures and organizations that perpetrated war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. Respect for victims understood in this way can and should unite both countries in the field of good-neighborly cooperation,” the statement reads.

The authors of the statement also note that if soldiers comply with the rules of war and there is no “crime of genocidal destruction of the population, there is no obstacle to the common commemoration of the fallen. It is the case of the First World War cemeteries, where soldiers of both fighting sides are buried next to one another.”

“Poland respects Ukrainian efforts to cultivate the memory and care of burial places of those Ukrainian soldiers who took part in the Ukrainian-Polish clashes of 1918-1919. We would expect similar degree of respect for the Polish victims of the conflicts of those years - for their cemeteries and their right to a dignified burial,” the authors add.