Ukrainian president to propose renewing historical exhumations - press
When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky comes to Warsaw on Saturday, he will propose to Polish President Andrzej Duda a way to resume the exhumation of Volhynia massacre victims in Ukraine, Polish daily Rzeczpospolita reported on Thursday.
The paper wrote that although it has taken the Ukrainian president four months to visit the country's most important neighbour, the visit may represent a breakthrough. "We hope for a new opening, a new phase in Ukrainian relations with Poland," the daily quoted Ukrainian Ambassador to Poland Andriy Deshchytsia as saying. "That's the message that President Zelensky flies to Warsaw with. We believe there is cause for optimism."
The paper cites government sources in Kiev as indicating a breakthrough in the ongoing dispute over historical policy, which has hampered relations between the two countries for at least four years. During the two presidents' meeting at Warsaw's Presidential palace on Saturday, Zelensky is expected to present very concrete proposals in the matter of lifting a ban on exhumations for the purposes of historical research.
Rzeczpospolita quotes an unnamed source as saying: "We don't want cooperation in the issue of historical memory to remain blocked, its renewal is important to us."
One Ukrainian MP told the paper: "We want to take concrete steps regarding lifting the ban on exhumations to lead to an exit from the complicated situation our relations have found themselves in," going on to blame the head of Ukraine's Institute of National Remembrance for the impasse and support his ouster. "A great reset is coming in relations with Poland," he said.
There has been a dispute between Warsaw and Kiev since the spring of 2017, after Ukraine banned all exhumations of Volhynia massacre victims carried out by Poland in Ukraine following the removal of a memorial to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in Hruszowice, southeastern Poland.
According to historians, around 100,000 Polish nationals were killed in the 1943–45 Volhynia massacre, including 40,000-60,000 in Volhynia and 20,000-40,000 in Eastern Galicia, and at least 4,000 on the territory of today's Poland. According to Poland's National Remembrance Institute, some 10,000-12,000 Ukrainians were murdered during Polish retaliatory operations by the spring of 1945.