Warsaw to Kiev: ‘You Won’t Get Into Europe Glorifying War Criminal Bandera’

07.02.2017

Former Polish President Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the influential leader of the country’s ruling Law and Justice Party, has some frank advice for Kiev, telling Ukrainian officials that the country would never join Europe if it continued to try to build its national identity on the glorification of notorious Nazi-allied war criminals like Stepan Bandera.

In an interview for the news weekly magazine Do Rzeczy, excerpts from which were published by other Polish outlets on Monday, Kaczynski indicated that he had warned Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that Kiev would have no place in Europe if it continued to indulge in the glorification of war criminals like Stepan Bandera, the leader of the WWII-era Ukrainian nationalist organization that collaborated with the Nazis.

Kaczynski said “for years now, we have disagreed with the construction in Ukraine of a cult to people who engaged in genocide against the Poles. They even surpassed the cruelty of the Germans, which was not easy to do.”

“In short, this is a matter of choice for Ukraine,” the politician emphasized. “I told President Poroshenko clearly that Ukraine wouldn’t be entering Europe with Bandera. For me this is an issue that is absolutely clear,” he added, “because we have demonstrated great patience. But this patience has its limits.”

Polish officials have repeatedly criticized Kiev’s official efforts to glorify wartime nationalist figures like Bandera. Last summer, Polish lawmakers officially classified Ukrainian nationalists’ war-era atrocities against Polish civilians as genocide. Ukraine condemned the measure. In the fall, tempers flared again after the release of a new historical drama by film director Wojciech Smarzowski, which depicted the Ukrainian nationalists’ atrocities. Ukrainian officials soon banned the film, claiming that its showing would “cause unrest in the streets of Kiev.”

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Published at sputniknews.com