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Ukraine commemorates controversial wartime leader

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Some 100,000 Ukrainians took part in state-sanctioned ceremonies commemorating a
World War II-era Ukrainian military leader, alarming local Jews.

Several high-profile events marked the 100th birthday of Gen. Roman Shukhevych, who fought in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, or UPA, alongside occupying German forces during World War II.

Left-wing
organizations and some representatives of the Jewish community staged a protest rally
outside Kiev’s
House of Officers during one of the memorial events Saturday.

At a meeting with UPA veterans at a prestigious Kiev meeting
hall, Vyacheslav Kirilenko, a leader of the party of Ukrainian President
Viktor Yuschenko, repeated Yuschenko’s promise to urge Ukraine’s
parliament to recognize Shukhevych and the UPA as freedom fighters for Ukrainian independence.

Already, eight Ukrainian regional councils have agreed to recognize UPA veterans and accord them the social benefits
currently given to Red Army veterans who fought against the Nazis.

Neither
Yuschenko nor any high-ranking members of his administration participated in the
weekend ceremonies honoring Shukhevych.

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