Ukrainian parliament condemns Polish law banning 'Bandera ideology'

Ukrainian parliament condemns Polish law banning 'Bandera ideology'

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has adopted a statement condemning the adoption by the Sejm and the Senate of Poland of amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance, which, in particular, criminalizes denial of "crimes of Ukrainian nationalists."

The respective draft resolution was supported by 242 MPs at a plenary meeting on Tuesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

The parliament believes the legislative changes adopted by the Polish Parliament contradict the democratic values and strategic partnership of the two countries.

"The adopted legislative changes contradict the content and spirit of strategic partnership between Ukraine and the Republic of Poland, as well as the principles agreed upon by the parties, among other things, in the Declaration of Memory and Solidarity of October 20, 2016," the statement reads.

The statement notes that it was in this declaration that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Sejm of Poland agreed on the need to intensify unbiased historical research and "deter forces that lead to disputes in our states."

Among other things, Ukrainian MPs urged the Polish side to be open and constructive in the further development of bilateral relations.

"We call on the president of the Republic of Poland to use his constitutional powers and, in conjunction with the Sejm and the Senate of the Republic of Poland, to bring deliberateness, rationality and benevolence back to Ukrainian-Polish relations," the statement reads.

The document states that the Polish law banning "crimes of Ukrainian nationalists" provides for a "biased and anti-historic definition of this concept, which opens up the road to manipulation and strengthening of anti-Ukrainian tendencies in Polish society." In addition, MPs point out that frank dialogue, free exchange of opinions and academic freedom are under the threat of criminal prosecution in connection with the adoption of the law "that is incompatible with democratic values."

The parliament stresses the need to preserve and pass on to the next generations "the truth about true causes, not the ones that have been pulled out of the general context," which led to bloodshed between the peoples during World War II and other periods of history and which had tragic consequences for both peoples.

The statement also emphasizes that the incitement of conflicts between traditionally friendly Ukrainian and Polish peoples lies in the interests of the common enemies of Poland and Ukraine, "which were the Nazi and Communist regimes and today they are the Russian aggressor and occupiers."

The statement was prepared on the order of Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy by the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs involving representatives of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and international experts.

The Polish Sejm (on January 26) and the Senate (on February 1) approved amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance, which criminalizes all people, including foreigners, for attributing to the Polish people the responsibility or joint responsibility for the crimes of the Nazis during the Second World War. The law also introduces punishment for denial of "crimes of Ukrainian nationalists" during the war against citizens of the Second Polish Republic.

On Tuesday, February 6, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the law on the Institute of National Remembrance, which, in particular, introduces criminal liability for denial of "crimes of Ukrainian nationalists."


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