Former advisor to Zelensky claims Poland is ready to forget Volhynia

March of Remembrance for the Victims of the Volhynia Massacre, Warsaw, Poland. Source: Twitter@UPasieczna/video picture grab.
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

Back in November, Oleksiy Arestovych, then a close advisor of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Poland’s authorities were prepared to view the Volhynia massacre as a closed chapter of history for the sake of good relations between Poland and Ukraine. He claimed that such assurances had been given privately by Polish officials. 

In an interview with him published on Monday, Do Rzeczy asked him again about these remarks and he doubled down on his revelations. He said that officials were recognizing that the present war was an ideal opportunity to stop reliving the past and to concentrate on the future as the potential benefits from the current alliance were more important than past wrongs. 

Arestovych also said that Poland had a “duty” to support Ukraine, as should Ukraine be defeated, Russia would attack Poland. He argues that if Russia were to take over Ukraine within five years, it would become far stronger than today. This would mean that Poland would have to spend even more on defense and become a militarized society. 

The former advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also told Do Rzeczy that Polish business was well placed to benefit from lucrative contracts for the rebuilding of Ukraine, and that Poles would get preferential treatment for investing in the country. He added that he saw no other way for the rebuilding of the Ukrainian arms industry than cooperation with Poland. 

Arestovych believes the alliance between Poland and Ukraine has the potential to “monopolize the transit between Asia and Europe, and also between the Black Sea and the Baltic.” He confirmed there was full consensus in Ukraine on refusing to grant any territorial concessions to Russia, and that even a nuclear Russian attack would not break the resolve of the Ukrainian people. 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who was in Kyiv last week, had raised the matter of exhuming the victims of the Volhynia massacre, and there were reports that Ukraine was ready to lift the suspension on the excavation work to that effect. However, the Ukrainians insist their specialists should be engaged in the excavation efforts and that this is not currently possible because they are engaged in other duties connected with the current war taking place in Ukraine. Morawiecki assured that Poland would not let the matter rest and that the truth about the Volhynia massacre must be revealed in full. 

In June last year, there were claims in some Polish media that the Polish authorities were prepared to tone down the dispute over the way the nationalist leader of the UPA, Stepan Bandera, is glorified in Ukraine and that they would instead concentrate on the UPA commanders directly involved in the Volhynia massacre. 

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