22:27 GMT +321 February 2018
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    Unveiling a monument to Stepan Bandera

    Ukrainian nationalists march in support of controversial Insurgent Army

    © Sputnik/ Miroslav Luzhetskiy
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    Several thousand Ukrainian nationalists gathered on Friday to rally in Kiev for the recognition of the WWII-era Ukrainian Insurgent Army that fought against the Soviet Red Army and Nazis.

    Several thousand Ukrainian nationalists gathered on Friday to rally in Kiev for the recognition of the WWII-era Ukrainian Insurgent Army that fought against the Soviet Red Army and Nazis.

    Supporters of the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party are marching from a monument to Ukrainian poet and writer Taras Shevchenko along a central street to Mikhailovskaya Square.

    Some demonstrators have portraits of nationalist leaders Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych. Police have cordoned off the central streets to protect the demonstrators.

    The annual march for the recognition of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) on October 14 has become a tradition and is recognized as the day of its foundation.

    Before, during and after WWII, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its militant wing, the UPA, fought for Ukrainian independence first from Poland and then from Nazi Germany after it became apparent that Germany had no plans of giving the Ukrainians sovereignty. However, later the organization rejoined German efforts to fight against a common enemy, the Soviet Union.

    Ukrainian society is deeply divided over the wartime role of the country's nationalists, namely the UPA. One part, mostly residents of the eastern regions bordering Russia, believe UPA fighters were traitors who killed Soviet soldiers, while another, mainly residents of western Ukraine, regard them as patriots who fought for an independent Ukraine.

     

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