(JTA) — A senior state historian of Ukraine said that protests by Poland and Israel about his country’s glorification of Nazi collaborationists was Russian propaganda.
Volodymyr Vyatorovych, director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, offered his opinion last week on social media in connection with a joint letter of protest by the Israeli and Polish ambassadors to Ukraine.
In an unusual move, the two diplomats wrote to the mayor of the Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankisvsk protesting the unveiling there of a monument honoring Roman Shukhevych, a collaborator with the Nazis who is implicated in the murder of countless Jews and ethnic Poles by his UPA nationalist militia during the 1940s.
“The letter is in English, but its essence is Russian. The content — this is also a repetition of the Russian propaganda against the UPA,” Vyatorovych wrote.
Vyatorovych is a consistent advocate of the UPA and other pro-Nazi outfits. But his claim that Israel and Poland are serving Russian propaganda is unusual. Israel last year was blamed by Russia for the shooting down by Syrian air defense of a Russian plane over Syria, a close ally of Russia. An Israeli warplane had been using the Russian reconnaissance aircraft as cover for its mission, Russia’s Ministry of Defense charged.
Israel routinely strikes targets in Syria, including those belonging to the government. Israel also strikes targets belonging to Iran, a major trading partner of Russia.
Poland, where anti-Russian sentiment is rife, is a prominent member of the NATO alliance, which is largely devoted to checking Russian expansionism. Polish President Andrzej Duda is seeking a permanent U.S. military base in Poland and advanced fighters to counter what his government sees as a growing Russian threat, Radio Liberty reported this week.