Katyn Massacre biggest Soviet war crime - Spanish daily

The Katyn Forest Massacre in western Russia was a series of mass executions of Polish POWs, mainly military officers and policemen, carried out by the Soviet NKVD security agency in April and May 1940. Wojciech Pacewicz/PAP

The 1940 Katyn Forest Massacre in which the Soviets mass-executed over 20,000 Polish POWs was the biggest Soviet crime during World War Two, the Spanish daily El Espanol wrote on Tuesday in connection with the incident's 80th anniversary.

The daily pointed out that the Soviets denied the Katyn killings for years after the war, blaming the Germans for the executions.

"Stalin murdered 25,000 Poles, which makes (the Katyn massacre - PAP) the biggest Soviet crime of World War Two," El Espanol wrote. The daily also mentioned a recent book on the subject by German journalist Thomas Urban, which appeared in Spain, in March.

Citing Urban's book, the daily noted that the Katyn killings were preceded by collaboration between the Soviets and Nazi Germany, as a result of which both countries occupied Poland after the war's outbreak in 1939.

The Katyn Forest Massacre in western Russia was a series of mass executions of Polish POWs, mainly military officers and policemen, carried out by the Soviet NKVD security agency in April and May 1940. The killings took place at several locations, but the massacre is named after the Katyn Forest in western Russia, where some of the mass graves of the victims were first discovered.

About 8,000 of the victims were officers imprisoned during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, another 6,000 were police officers, the rest were Polish intellectuals, deemed by the Soviets to be intelligence agents and saboteurs.

In 1943, the government of Nazi Germany announced the discovery of mass graves in Katyn Forest. The Soviets claimed that the killings had been carried out by the Nazis in 1941 and denied responsibility for the massacres. In 1990, Russia officially acknowledged and condemned the perpetration of the massacre by the NKVD.