Kyiv agrees to search for graves of Poles murdered in Ukraine

A hunt for the graves of Poles murdered during the Second World War by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) will go ahead after the Ukrainian authorities agreed to the search.

The decision was announced on social media on Friday by the Freedom and Democracy Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, which had sought Kyiv's consent for the search, and possible exhumations.

The foundation said on its Facebook profile that on November 2 it had obtained the Ukrainian authorities' consent to start looking for the graves of Poles murdered by the UPA in February 1945 in the village of Puzniki in Podolia, western Ukraine.

"We thank the Ukrainian authorities for this important decision as well as all representatives of the Republic of Poland, in particular the President, Prime Minister, and the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, who took steps to enable the search and exhumation of our compatriots, whose remains rest in Ukraine," the foundation said.

The Ukrainian decision was also confirmed by the Polish Foreign Ministry.

"The Ukrainian side has informed us with a formal note that search work with the participation of Polish specialists in Ukraine will be possible," Poland's deputy foreign minister, Marcin Przydacz, told PAP.

He said that Ukraine's formal notification of the possibility of carrying out a search "is a big change to how the Ukrainian authorities previously approached this situation."

"We are pleased with this change. We believe it is a step in a very good direction," Przydacz added.

On the night of February 13 and 14, 1945, a UPA unit, under the command of Petro Chamczuk, raided Puzniki. During the assault almost 100 people were murdered.