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New Age of Nationalism in Ukraine Poses Threat to Its Closest Neighbors

© Sputnik / Alexander Maksimenko / Go to the mediabankAzov battalion soldiers take oath in Kiev before being sent to Donbass
Azov battalion soldiers take oath in Kiev before being sent to Donbass - Sputnik International
In Ukraine, unidentified vandals have desecrated the tombs of some 600 Poles massacred by a Ukrainian Nazi division in 1944 in the village of Pidkamin, Lviv region, and a monument to Polish professors executed by German Nazis in 1941.

Vaclav Havel memorial plaque in Kiev - Sputnik International
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The vandals spray painted the monuments with Nazi SS graffiti and anti-Polish slurs.

The twin attacks came at a time when Ukraine prepares to mark the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) initiated by the director of the Institute of National Remembrance, Volodymyr Vyatrovych.

In an interview with Sputnik, Polish historian and independent journalist Bohdan Pietka said that he was not at all surprised by what had happened now that the leaders of nationalist movements are being lionized in Ukraine and members of the Right Sector ultranationalist party and of the ill-famed Aidar and Azov battalions are increasingly active in the country’s political life.

“At a recent Sorbonne University symposium on the Nazi Holocaust of Jews in Ukraine, Volodymyr Vyatrovych described UPA as an anti-Nazi organization, which was allegedly fighting the German Wehrmacht during the war,” Bohdan Pietka told Sputnik Poland.

“These allegations caused an angry uproar from Jewish organizations and the academic community. Vyatrovych was exposed as a falsifier of history.”

When asked about his vision of the future of Ukraine, which is now deeply mired in economic crisis, Bohdan Pietka said that if another Maidan happens and the increasingly unpopular President Petro Poroshenko is ousted, Ukraine could wind up in the hands of Bandera-loving ultranationalists.

“That would be a nightmare scenario leading to political chaos and disarray! It would also be bad for Poland, whose leaders pretend not to see the rise of pro-Bandera sentiment in Ukraine,” he emphasized.

Bohdan Pietka added that if the ultranationalists come to power Ukraine could break up with Banderites ruling supreme in the west, the capital Kiev and central regions pursuing their own policy and eastern Ukraine breaking away.

“With rampant crime and no state control over the arms trade, not only Ukrainians, but also Poles, Slovakians and Romanians will feel the pinch if Ukraine breaks up,” he warned.

Many in Poland harbor bitter memories about the killings of up to 100,000 Poles by Ukrainian nationalists in 1943-1944 in Volyn and the eastern Galicia regions, which are now part of Ukraine.

In October 2016, one of the leaders of the Ukrainian nationalist movement, Dmytro Korchynsky, openly called for the destruction of all Polish monuments in Ukraine.

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