Unknown people in the village of Pikulice near Przemyśl have replaced tombstones on the graves of Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA) fighters, reports kresy.pl.
On the former tombstones there was Ukraine’s national emblem and inscriptions in Ukrainian “To Ukrainian insurgents who died in the name of free Ukraine in Bircza on Jan 7 1946” and “Ukrainian insurgents who died in the name of free Ukraine in Leszno.” Later some Kyiv-based Political Organization of Political Prisoners illegally replaced the tombstones. The new ones said, “Here lie Ukrainian Insurgent Army fighters, who died in the name of free Ukraine during an attack by the Polish Army in Bircza” and “Here lie Ukrainian Insurgent Army fighters who were killed in Leszno on May 22 1947 as a result of a verdict by the Polish Military Court in Sanok.”
The Poles were displeased and now there are new tombstones saying “Here lie Bandera bandits, butchers and torturers of innocent Polish women and children.”
When asked to comment on this news, President of the Association of Ukrainians in Poland Petro Tyma said: “This will be a test for the Polish authorities if they are ready to condemn this crime and to find the criminals as well as to prevent similar crimes in future.”
The leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists Bohdan Chervak says that the Polish Foreign Ministry must apologize. “The Poles must apologize and prevent similar incidents in future. Otherwise, all words about brotherly European nations will remain only words,” Chervak said on Facebook.
EADaily’s note. Leszno is one of the most tragic sites of the so-called Volyn Massacre - massacres of Poles and Jews in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia organized by the UIA in 1943. According to the Poles, it was a genocide with as many as 30,000-70,000 Poles killed. In 1945-1946, the UIA attacked the village of Birsza and killed dozens of servicemen and civilians. On Jan 7 1946, the Ukrainian insurgents undertook one more raid but it failed, with 23 fighters killed and 22 fighters wounded.
The plan of the UIA in 1943 was to annihilate Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia. According to different sources, they killed 50,000-200,000 Poles.
On Apr 9 2015, Ukraine’s Supreme Rada recognized the Ukrainian insurgents as fighters for Ukraine’s independence and granted them social preferences. One of the authors of the bill was Yuriy Shukhevich, the son of UIA commander Roman Shukhevich. Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko ratified the law on May 15 2015.
Earlier EADaily quoted Polish Ambassador to Armenia Jerzy Nowakowski as saying that the genocide of Poles in Western Ukraine during WWII was equivalent to the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during the WWI.