Kowal commented on the controversial interview. “They didn't understand what I said.”

Kowal commented on the controversial interview.  “They didn't understand what I said.”

KO MP Paweł Kowal commented on the controversy he caused with his comment on the Volhynian massacre. – The reaction of the PiS supporters was embarrassing. Because they forgot that the effects of 1939 were such that the Polish Underground State was created – said Kowal on Radio One.

Last week, the “Interia” portal published an interview with Paweł Kowal – MP from the Civic Coalition and chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee – which received wide attention due to his comment on the Volhynian massacre.

How did Kowal create controversy?

Let us recall that this is about the genocide committed in 1943-1944 by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) – or rather its armed arm, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) – against Poles who lived in the south-eastern voivodeships of the Second Polish Republic.

During the mentioned period, these areas were first occupied by Germany and then by the Soviet Union. Approximately 100,000 people fell victim to the exceptionally brutal actions of UPA criminals. people.

Kowal stated that “the Volhynian crime does not burden the Ukrainian state because it did not exist.” He added that it was committed “by Polish citizens against other Polish citizens.” These words were met with an avalanche of criticism. Critics – including MPs from Law and Justice – argued that Kowal's theses were an attempt to blur the responsibility for the Volhynian massacre.

“According to the likes of Smith and Tusk, it is probably not the Germans who are responsible for German crimes, but the Nazis. And they are probably responsible for the crimes of Ukrainian nationalists… Who, Mr. Kowal? Who does not allow exhumations? Who does not allow tortured Poles to have a dignified burial?” – commented former Minister of Education Przemysław Czarnek on X (formerly Twitter).

Motion to dismiss Kowal

In turn, PiS MP Radosław Fogiel announced that his party would request Kowal's dismissal from the position of head of the parliamentary committee.

“Due to the unacceptable statements of MP Paweł Kowal, which relativize responsibility for the genocide committed against Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia, representatives of Law and Justice in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland will request his dismissal as the chairman of this committee,” Fogiel wrote on X.

Smith: They didn't understand what I said

On Friday, March 1, Kowal commented on this on the First Program of Polish Radio. He explained that throughout the war, in the areas occupied by both the Germans and the Soviets, there was a Polish Underground State, which was subordinate to the Polish government in exile.

– They didn't understand what I said. There were simply no Ukrainian states at that time, and in this place, i.e. in the eastern territories of the Second Polish Republic, there was a Polish state. There was a Polish Underground State that we worship. And as a Pole, I will not let this be forgotten, regardless of who tries to talk about it. There was a Polish administration, people donated blood and life, there was a Polish underground army. The Polish government did not recognize the change of borders in 1939. No Polish politician could agree to this change. This change took place only in 1945, in accordance with international law, said Kowal in the “Sygnały Dzień” program.

Kowal: I have been talking about genocide for many years

The host of the program asked his guest what then about the “moral responsibility of the Ukrainian nation.” It is worth noting that UPA is revered in Ukraine. Suffice it to mention that, for example, Roman Szukhewycz – the commander-in-chief of the UPA, who was directly responsible for the murders of our compatriots – was honored with street names and monuments.

Kowal made it clear that he did not agree with the relativization of the Volhynian massacre, which is reflected, for example, in Ukraine calling it the euphemism “Polish-Ukrainian war”.

– The moral responsibility of a nation is completely different. Even more than moral responsibility, i.e. every decent person, especially a politician, has the right to condemn the genocide in Volhynia. And every other genocide. In general, in my opinion, this is a condition of being a politician. I have been talking about genocide for many years. (…) It is our responsibility not to honor people who have blood on their hands and to openly call it genocide, Kowal continued.

Kowal: The reaction of the “pisists” was embarrassing

He stressed that the Ukrainian authorities should clearly condemn the Volhynian massacre for the good of relations with Poland. Let us add that, contrary to many expectations, President Volodymyr Zelensky did not offer an apology for the Volhynia massacre during his visit to Warsaw in April 2023.

– There is really no discussion about this matter. However, the reaction of the “pisists” was embarrassing. Because they forgot that the effects of 1939 were such that the Polish Underground State was created. And that every Polish politician should respect this – added the KO MP.

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