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Moscow: Bandera Marches In Ukraine Tread 'Nazi Path'

Marches Mark Birthday Of Ukrainian Nationalist Leader
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WATCH: Torchlit parades marked the 106th anniversary of the birth of controversial Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera on January 1st. Thousands marched in Kyiv, while a smaller gathering took place in Sumy, in northeastern Ukraine. Bandera led partisans during World War Two who fought against both Nazi and Soviet troops. Some historians say he initially collaborated with the Nazis and his forces took part in the killings of Jews and Poles. (RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service)

A senior Russian diplomat has lashed out at Ukraine over nationalist marches marking the birthday of controversial World War II anti-Soviet insurgent Stepan Bandera.

Thousands marched in Kyiv on January 1, some carrying nationalist flags and chanting the Bandera movement's slogan: "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!"

A smaller torchlight procession was held in the northeastern city of Sumy, near the Russian border.

Bandera, who fought both Soviet and Nazi forces, is widely regarded in Russia as a Nazi collaborator.

The Russian Foreign Ministry's human rights envoy, Konstantin Dolgov, said on Twitter on January 2 that "the torch marches in Ukraine are a demonstration of the continuation of movement along the path of the Nazis!"

He added, "And this is in the center of civilized Europe!"

Some historians say Bandera's followers initially cooperated with Nazi invaders of western Ukraine, then part of Poland, and took part in the killings of Jews and Poles.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Bandera Adolf Hitler's "accomplice" and has dismissed the leaders of the pro-Europe Maidan protests that ousted Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych in February as his "ideological heirs."

Bandera was assassinated by a KGB agent in 1959.

With reporting by AFP, TASS, and Interfax
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