Accessibility links

Breaking News

Polish, Ukrainian Presidents Unveil Memorials

The cemetery in Lviv 24 June 2005 -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski commemorated today Poles and Ukrainians who fought each other nearly a century ago.

They unveiled two war memorials to Polish and Ukrainian soldiers who died fighting each other in a 1918-1920 war over control of then-independent western Ukraine.

Yushchenko said at the Ukrainian memorial the ceremony showed that Poland and Ukraine can face their past and learn from it.

"I believe that the joint appearance by the two presidents proves that Ukraine and Poland can now face their past. We have enough pride not to rewrite the tragic pages of our history and enough wisdom to draw the right conclusions from that history," Yushchenko said.

Subsequently, the two presidents reopened in Lviv a burial site of 2,500 Polish soldiers who had struggled against Ukrainians.

Relations between the two Slavic countries have improved greatly in recent years. European Union member Poland has become the biggest supporter of the new Yushchenko government's efforts to shift his country closer to the West and seek EU membership.

Poles outnumbered Ukrainians at the ceremony.

Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, who heads Ukraine's Greek Catholic Church, gave the blessing at the ceremony.

President Kwasniewski addressed the crowd in Polish. He said that Ukraine and Poland should cherish the gift of freedom.


RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.