Polish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Dismissed After Controversial Statement on Volhynia Massacre
Polish Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Lukasz Jasina, has been suspended indefinitely from his duties following a controversial online statement demanding apologies and greater penance from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the involvement of Ukrainians in the Volhynia massacre. Lukasz Jasina was formally put on leave for an indefinite period, reported Polish radio RMF24.
The Ukrainian embassy labelled this statement as "worthy of regret," and according to the radio station, Jasina will not return to his post as the ministry's press secretary.
"I have a personal connection to this issue because I'm almost from Volhynia and although my family are not Volhynians, I grew up among people who fled from there. I remember a time when this crime was not a problem because it was little known," Jasina said in an interview with Onet on May 19, responding to a question about the approaching anniversary of the Volhynia massacre.
"I think, from the Ukrainian side, and here I will be very diplomatic, there is still a lack of understanding of how important this issue is to the Poles," Jasina emphasized.
When asked if President Volodymyr Zelensky should apologize for Volhynia, he replied: "It was not done by the state of Ukraine, but President Zelensky must take responsibility for this."
"We ask for an apology" - this phrase, according to Jasina, should be heard from the Ukrainian side. "This formula works very well in the case of Polish-Ukrainian relations, and it is still lacking," he pointed out.
It is worth reminding that after the Polish Foreign Ministry's spokesman Lukasz Jasina said that Volodymyr Zelensky must apologize to the Poles for Volhynia, the Ukrainian ambassador responded. "Any attempt to impose on the Ukrainian president or Ukraine what we should do about our common past is unacceptable and regrettable," said Vasyl Zvarych.
At the same time, the deputy foreign minister of Poland urged not to look for problems in relations with Ukraine, as this only benefits Russia.
The Volhynia massacre refers to the bilateral ethnic cleansing of the Ukrainian and Polish population, carried out by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and the Polish Home Army, involving Polish Schutzmannschaft battalions and Soviet partisans in 1943 during World War II in Volhynia.
According to Poland, during the Nazi occupation, Ukrainian nationalists killed 100,000 Poles. Warsaw insists that fewer Ukrainians were killed than Poles.
Ukrainian historians claim that punitive actions by Polish armed formations also took place against the Ukrainian population. According to the testimonies of participants in those actions, they targeted Ukrainian settlements near destroyed Polish villages, as the population was suspected of involvement in massacre. Estimated Ukrainian casualties which were caused by Polish retribution at 2,000–3,000 in Volhynia and 10,000–15,000 in all of the territories covered by the conflict in 1943–1947.