History Lessons: On way to reconciliation: Ukraine, Poland to jointly analyze Volyn tragedy

09:43 Sep. 14, 2016

On way to reconciliation: Ukraine, Poland to jointly analyze Volyn tragedy

Poland's Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski talks to Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin during NATO summit in Warsaw (UNIAN photo)

Historians should do their job in favour of reconciliation between the peoples, Polish Foreign Minsiter says

Poland's Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski has expressed support for historians who work to search for ways of reconciliation between the Ukrainian and Polish peoples, according to UNIAN.

"We do not manipulate these complex and problematic issues that must be solved, especially between neighbors, and have positive experience in solving critical issues," he said at a joint press conference with Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin in Kyiv on Tuesday. 

"Therefore, I support the intention and speak out for giving historians and all activists an opportunity to work, so that they could do their job in favor of reconciliation between the peoples," the minister added.

After a meeting with his Polish counterpart, Klimkin announced agreements to assist historians in their investigation of the tragic pages of Ukrainian-Polish history.

"We've discussed the public's attitudes to the tragic events in the Volyn region. We have agreed to contribute to the work of our historians, those who will check documents in the archives to verify what happened and how it happened. We've agreed that we – Witold on behalf of Poland and myself on behalf of Ukraine – will appoint co-chairs of a Ukrainian-Polish forum who will consistently assist [in this issues]," he said.

Read also Expert Analysis: Polish politicians fueling anger against Ukraine to get votes

As the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory reported, the Ukrainian-Polish Historians Forum resumed work in November 2015. It incorporates 12 scientists.

Historians of the two countries differently interpret the tragic events of July 11-12, 1943, the period considered to be the culmination of the Volyn tragedy. The Polish side claims that the Ukrainian Insurgent Army troops attacked 60 to 100 populated localities in Poland and estimate victims at over 60,000 people.

Ukrainian researchers, in turn, claim that the Volyn tragedy was a result of the war of Poland's Home Army with the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, in which civilians participated. They also insist that the Poles were engaged in repressions against the Ukrainian civilian population and estimate the Ukrainian death toll at up to 20,000 people.

Watch also Decision of Polish Parliament is a historic misunderstanding – Ukrainian historian

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