Senior Polish officials have slammed the Ukrainian government for appointing a new official who previously praised a World War Two-era ultranationalist whose supporters murdered tens of thousands of Poles.
Polish Secretary of State at the Chancellery of the President Andrzej Dera slammed Kyiv for appointing Andriy Melnyk as deputy head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, given Melnyk had previously praised ultranationalist Stepan Bandera, whose supporters killed thousands of Jews and Polish civilians from 1943 to 1944 and was briefly an ally of Adolf Hitler.
“Personally, I am surprised, because as the Polish side, we always oppose the Bandera narrative; it is unacceptable and in no way can we accept politicians who introduce such a narrative into the public space,” Minister Dera said, broadcaster TVP reports.
Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak also commented on the appointment of Melnyk, stating that it was a “bad decision” and went on to add, “I believe that apart from the interested party himself, one more person will enjoy this decision – the inhabitant of the Kremlin. Because there is no doubt that it can be perceived this way. So I am surprised.”
Polish President Andrzej Duda said Wednesday after a meeting with top national security officials there is no indication that Poland was intentionally attacked.https://t.co/bOHUFvo0V5
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Deputy Speaker of the Polish parliament Piotr Zgorzelski added, “Next year we will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Volhynia massacre. On the eve of the 80th anniversary, a man is appointed to the post of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs who equates Banderite crimes with alleged Polish crimes.”
Mr Melnyk, who previously served as Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, labelled Stepan Bandera “one of those who fought for the freedom and independence of Ukraine,” in an interview in June,
“He cannot be put in line with people like Hitler. (…) He wanted to use the German Nazis to achieve his own goal: Ukraine’s independence,” he added.
When confronted on Bandera’s anti-Polish and anti-Semitic views, Melnyk replied, “Bandera was not a mass criminal against Poles and Jews. That’s what I say, and I can repeat it. I will not distance myself from this. And that’s it.”
The appointment of Melnyk comes after Ukraine alleged that a Russian missile had struck across the border into Poland last week, killing two people in the Polish town of Przewodów, prompting fears of a severe escalation between NATO and Russia.
The National Guard of Ukraine has shared video footage of "Azov fighters" greasing bullets with pig fat for Chechen "orcs" deployed in their country on their verified Twitter account https://t.co/CVai7ox2c5
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However, despite claims by the Ukrainians and by an initial report from the Associated Press, Polish President Andrej Duda stated that the missile was not likely an intentional attack and that there was no proof that it had been fired by Russian forces.
“There are many indications that it was an air defence missile, which unfortunately fell on Polish territory,” President Duda said.
James LaPorta of the Associated Press, who was the first to report the missile as being Russian after citing an anonymous US military source, was later fired by the company after the claims were retracted.