Polish health minister photographed with Ukrainian nationalist flag promoting group that helped massacre Poles in World War II

Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski at a Lviv hospital. To the left is the UPA flag.
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski, on a visit to a hospital in the Ukrainian city of Lviv in August, was photographed in front of a flag displayed in one of the wards. The flag, apparently owned by one of the wounded soldiers being treated there, was a nationalist flag used by the Ukrainian Uprising Army (UPA). 

Poland is a major provider of humanitarian healthcare aid to Ukraine, including for the treatment of Ukrainian soldiers. Minister Niedzielski was visiting a hospital receiving such help with the Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Lashko. He met patients and medical staff and was photographed in the ward with the offending flag. The photograph was published on his Twitter account by the mayor of Lviv, Andrij Sadovy. 

Poet Marcin Hałaś took to Twitter to comment under the post that he is shocked that the presence of such a flag was allowed by the Ukrainians and that the Polish health minister did not object. After some inquiries by journalists with the health ministry about the offending flag, both they and the foreign ministry responded. Łukasz Jasina, the foreign affairs ministry spokesman acknowledged that the symbol on the flag caused offense. The health ministry said that the flag had been put up by one of the patients; the minister’s delegation had raised an objection to it and that as a result, the delegation left that particular ward. 

Stepan Bandera was a prominent leader of the Ukrainian National Union. The UPA was the military wing of that movement, which was behind the genocide committed against Poles in Vollhynia during World War II and collaborated with Nazi Germany against the USSR. 

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