World War II veterans carry a portrait of the legendary Soviet commander Georgy Zhukov during a Victory Day parade in Kyiv (epa)
May 9, 2006 -- President Viktor Yushchenko today called for a reconciliation between Ukrainian veterans of the Soviet Army and nationalist militias who at one point fought the Soviets during World War II.
The role of the nationalist Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) -- who at various times fought Polish, Soviet, and Nazi forces -- remains a divisive issue in Ukraine.
In comments made as Ukraine marked the 61st anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany, Yushchenko said UPA veterans should enjoy the same social benefits as veterans from the Soviet Army.
He also expressed his certainty that "there will come a day when Ukrainian veterans will extend a hand to each other in the name of Ukraine's future. I am certain that we will witness a time when reconciliation will become reality for the Ukrainian nation."
("Ukrayinska pravda," AFP)