1 Feb 2018 18:52

Kyiv stands for strategic partnership with Poland, but doesn't accept language of bans - Ukrainian FM

KYIV. Feb 1 (Interfax) - Kyiv calls for equitable dialogue and strategic partnership with Poland and stands ready for joint study of the facts of history, rather than myths, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said.

"We always stood for and will stand for equitable dialogue and strategic partnership with Poland, but do not accept the language of bans and restrictions and share the concern of our international partners over the said law. We are ready for objective dialogue and to jointly study facts, rather than myths," the foreign minister wrote in the Twitter microblog, commenting on the situation with enacting the law on the Institute of National Remembrance by the Polish Senate.

The Polish parliament's decision is aimed not at "discussion about historical truth, but at establishing historical mythology," he said.

"Introducing the term 'crimes of Ukrainian nationalists' in the legal field is strengthening unilateral stereotypes and is provoking the tit-for-tat response. The idea to recognize certain nations as criminal leads to nowhere," Klimkin said.

As reported, the Polish Senate passed the law on the Institute of National Remembrance overnight into February 1 that specifically stipulates the punishment for "crimes of Ukrainian nationalists."

Some 57 senators, mostly from the Law and Justice (PiS) ruling party, voted for endorsing the bill, 23 voted against it and two abstained.

Amendments to the law envision fines or a prison term of up to three years "for distributing responsibility to the Polish people or the state, including for crimes committed by the Third Reich."

At the same time, the document views the Volyn massacre as a crime, and punishment is also introduced for denying the Volyn massacre.

At this point, for using the term "Polish death camps" with respect to the camps, which were situated in Poland during the Second World War, a penalty is introduced.

The law will take effect after its signature by Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Three Polish Senate committees backed this bill on Wednesday, January 31.

The Polish Sejm passed the third reading of the package of bills, which stipulates amendments in the law on the Institute of National Remembrance on January 26. The bill banning "the Bandera ideology" in Poland is also among them. The document describes crimes committed by Ukrainian nationalists and Ukrainian organizations, which were cooperating with the Third Reich, and possible launch of criminal inquiries against persons, who deny these crimes, in keeping with Article 55 of the law on the Institute of National Remembrance.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he has been concerned about the Polish Senate's decision.

The initiative put forth by Polish legislators has evoked the negative response and in Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his country "will not put up with distorting the truth, rewriting the history or rejection of Holocaust." The majority of Knesset MPs have supported the Israeli bill suggested on January 31 and under which the document passed by Polish senators is recognized as illegal denial of Holocaust.

United States State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said she was concerned that the law could harm the freedom of speech in Poland, noting that the term "Polish death camps" is really inaccurate and misleading.