Polish nationalists demand ‘loyalty’ from Ukrainians

A far-right party wants to make it mandatory for Ukrainians in the country to condemn nationalist crimes against Poles

The Confederation of the Polish Crown party has proposed legislation that would require Ukrainian citizens living in Poland to proclaim “loyalty” to Warsaw and condemn historical crimes against Poles committed by Ukrainian nationalists. 

The draft legislation was unveiled by the far-right party and its youth wing during a press conference at the country’s parliament on Thursday.

The party, represented in the parliament only by its leader, Grzegorz Braun, argues that Warsaw should not only expect loyalty from Ukrainians, who poured en masse into the country amid the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, but actually “demand” it. In recent months, the party has repeatedly raised the alarm over what it calls the “Ukrainianization of Poland” and the allegedly ongoing “ethnic substitution” of Poles by Ukrainian refugees.

The Crown unveiled a document, dubbed ‘The declaration of loyalty to the Polish Republic’, which it believes should be signed by every Ukrainian national. The document, written in both the Polish and Ukrainian languages, affirms that signees are aware of “mass crimes committed by the so-called Ukrainian Insurgent Army against civilian population during the Second World War until 1947 in the south-eastern areas of the Republic of Poland.”

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“I pledge to spread information about the crimes of [Stepan] Bandera among the civilian population after my return to Ukraine in order to strengthen Polish-Ukrainian relations in the spirit of friendship and respect,” the document reads. 

While Poland has been among Ukraine’s most ardent supporters amid the ongoing conflict, Kiev and Warsaw have polar opposite views on the shared past of the two countries, which have repeatedly resulted in hostile remarks from both sides.

While Ukraine views nationalist leaders – and WWII Nazi collaborators – such as Bandera and Roman Shukhevych, as national “heroes,” Warsaw holds them responsible for the WWII massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia, which it recognized as a “genocide.” The ethnic cleansing operations against Poles were ordered by Nazi Germany and carried out by paramilitary units that were comprised primarily of ethnic Ukrainians.

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