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Memorial To Ukrainian Insurgent Army Vandalized In Western Ukraine

A rally to celebrate the 67th anniversary of the UPA's founding took place in Kyiv last October.
STOROZHYNETS, Ukraine -- A small memorial to the World War II-era Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in the western town of Storozhynets has been vandalized, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Ukraine's Interior Ministry in Chernivtsy Oblast, where Storozhynets is located, said on April 30 it was likely the memorial was damaged on April 26. The Bloc of Bukovyna's National Forces -- an organization that unites the region's nationalist groups -- issued a statement demanding the authorities "find and severely punish the vandals."

The UPA was formed in 1943 and was the military wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists -- Bandera faction.

It is mostly revered in western Ukraine as a legendary military force that fought against Nazi Germany and Soviet forces for Ukrainian independence.

But the UPA is largely viewed in eastern Ukraine -- where most of the country's ethnic Russians live -- as a force that collaborated with the Germans during World War II and its members are considered traitors.