Ukrainian parliament head offers condolences to massacre's descendants
The head of the Ukrainian parliament has extended his condolences to the descendants of Poles slaughtered by Ukrainian nationalists in the 1943-45 Volhynia Massacre.
Ruslan Stefanchuk passed on his sympathy to the victims' descendants during an address to the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, on Thursday.
The killings, which claimed over 100,000 Polish lives, took place in the Volhynia region of pre-war eastern Poland (now a part of Ukraine) during its occupation by the Germans.
Masterminded by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and carried out by units of its military arm, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, the massacre still casts a shadow over Polish-Ukrainian relations despite the strong bond that now exists between the two countries forged by the recent Russian invasion.
"I extend my sympathy to the descendants of the victims of the terrible events in Volhynia, and express gratitude for remembrance that does not call out for hatred or revenge, but serves as a warning that this should never happen again between our peoples," Stefanchuk told the Sejm.
He added that with the 80th anniversary of the massacre approaching, Ukraine is happy to assist Polish archeological teams in their ongoing search for victim remains in the area.
"We understand your pain after losing your loved ones... Together we shall restore the names of those who rest in unmarked graves," he said.
Stefanchuk also thanked Poland for its military aid to his country after the Russian invasion in February 2022.
"We shall never forget Poland's leadership in forming a tank supply coalition. It was you who gave us our first Leopards, and Ukraine's skies are now protected by Polish MiGs," Stefanchuk said.
Commenting on Stefanchuk's address, Zbigniew Rau, the Polish foreign minister, said it showed that Poles and Ukrainians were "on a good path to rapprochement."
"We heard what we wished to hear. I think this was a very good address," Rau said.