President of Ukraine

Ukraine and Poland agreed to update and restart the bilateral working group on historical issues - Volodymyr Zelenskyy

31 August 2019 - 16:18

Ukraine and Poland agreed to update and restart the bilateral working group on historical issues - Volodymyr Zelenskyy

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and President of Poland Andrzej Duda agreed to update and restart the bilateral working group on historical issues that will work under the auspices of the heads of state. It was announced by Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a press conference in Warsaw.

“I am ready to unblock the permits for search operations in Ukraine, and the Polish side is decorating the Ukrainian memorial sites in Poland. I offered President Duda to build a common memorial of reconciliation on the border of Ukraine and Poland,” the Head of State noted.

The President of Ukraine stressed that he had openly discussed all the historical issues with the President of Poland.

“I am glad that there are no issues in our relations that we cannot solve through dialogue and mutual understanding. We are well aware that tense relations between Ukraine and Poland would be a wonderful gift for our enemies, and therefore we should not do it. We have agreed to update and restart the bilateral working group that will work under the auspices of both presidents, so that all the dark spots of the past do not prevent our nations from building a common bright future,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted.

The President of Ukraine thanked his Polish counterpart for inviting him to take part in the events marking the 80th anniversary of the Second World War. The Head of State recalled that on September 1, 1939, the Polish people stood up to defend their Homeland against the German invaders, and representatives of the Ukrainian people stood side by side with them.

“According to historians, thousands of Ukrainians fought in the ranks of the Polish army. Many of them died in the fight against the Nazis and fell victim to the communist totalitarian system, having been tortured to death in Katyn, Midne, Kharkiv. We must always keep this in mind when talking about solid foundations of the Ukrainian-Polish friendship and brotherhood,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

According to the President, 80 years later, Poland actively and comprehensively helps Ukraine defend its territorial integrity.

"Our common history is rich in examples to be proud of. At the same time, we do not turn a blind eye to the common tragic pages,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed.

He also recalled a symbolic event when in 1853 in Lviv, Ignatius Lukashevich  and Jan Zeg invented a kerosene lamp.

“This is a significant example of the fact that common work of Poles and Ukrainians makes this world brighter. Therefore, I am convinced that partnership and friendship between Ukraine and Poland has not only significant prospects, but also a strategic dimension,” the President of Ukraine summarized.

For his part, Polish President Andrzej Duda emphasized that both sides want to normalize relations in the issue of historical memory. "The road to this is to honor every person killed, to write their names and surnames on the plaque of a tombstone," he said. According to him, exhumation works are needed to implement this, and this issue is extremely important for the Polish people. “It is a tribute to those closest to us. This is an issue for a person to know where to light a candle for his grandfather, great grandfather or father, bow one’s head and pray. To have a memorial site,” he stated.