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Polish Foreign Minister: Russia forgets about million Ukrainians in USSR Armed Forces

23 january 2015 | 17:00

Polish Minister, Gzhegorz Schetyna has explained why he had thanked Ukrainians for liberation of Auschwitz and why it had angered Moscow.

Гжегож Схетина, глава МИД Польши с сентября 2014
Minister Schetyna reiterated that more than a million Ukrainians served in the Red Army
Poland's Foreign Minister Gzhegorz Schetyna has said that it had been Ukrainian tanker who destroyed the gates of Auschwitz. And that is why he thanked Ukrainians for liberation of prisoners of the Nazi concentration camp.

According to Gazeta Wyborcza, this was announced by the Polish diplomat in an interview with ZET radio, while commenting on the statement which angered the Kremlin.

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"The first tank that broke the gates of Auschwitz was led by the Ukrainian – Igor G. Pobirchenko. He later became a law professor," – announced the Polish Foreign Minister.

He added that this fact does not cancel the merit of the Red Army in the liberation of people from the Nazi concentration camp, as well as its role in the victory in World War II. According the diplomat, Russians reacted negatively to his gratitude to the Ukrainians because of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

"The Russians now do not want to admit that, because it does not fit in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. But it distorts the historical truth that the Red Army, except Russians had 1-1.2 million Ukrainian soldiers. Propaganda does not say about this because of the Russian-Ukrainian relations. The history should be free of propaganda "- says the diplomat.

Gzhegorz Schetyna was heavily criticized in Russia for his gratitude to Ukrainian people's role in liberation of Auschwitz prisoners 70 years ago. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the words of Polish counterpart as "blasphemy."

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 Gazeta Wyborcza also wrote that the Russians deny the role of Ukrainians in the Second World War victory and consider them "fascists."

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza

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