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Unresolved historical issue could hinder Ukraine's EU accession, Polish MFA states

Unresolved historical issue could hinder Ukraine's EU accession, Polish MFA states Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

Without resolving the issue of exhuming the remains of Poles on Ukrainian territory, it makes no sense for the country to dream of EU accession, according to a statement from the Deputy Head of the Polish MFA, Paweł Jabłoński.

It is noted that the conversation touched upon the exhumation of the remains of Poles who died during the Volyn tragedy on the territory of Ukraine.

The diplomat stated that, in his opinion, without resolving this issue, Ukraine "should not dream of European Union membership."

"Therefore, we will strongly emphasize that without addressing this issue, there will be no long-term reconciliation with Ukraine," Jabłoński said.

However, the official chose not to directly name this as a condition for Ukraine's EU accession but added that this problem needed to be resolved.

Volyn tragedy

The mutual ethnic cleansing of conflicting Polish and Ukrainian populations, carried out by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army under the auspices of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and Polish Home Army, with the participation of Polish Shutzmannschaft battalions, Soviet partisans, and Ukrainian and Polish civilian populations in 1943 during World War II.

Ukrainian historians mainly began to investigate this topic after the declaration of independence. The intensification of research occurred after the Euromaidan Revolution in 2014, as in 2015, archives of former Soviet repressive bodies up to 1991, which were stored in Ukraine, were declassified.

Conflicts based on the Volyn tragedy

In late May, the spokesperson of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lukasz Jasina, was sent on indefinite leave. He was removed from work due to his statement about the Volyn tragedy and Ukraine.

Recently, Jasina definitively lost his position after another careless statement. This time he expressed readiness for the foreign constituencies to participate in parliamentary elections.