Tuesday, March 2, 2010

President Yanukovych: Ukraine reviewing honoring of Bandera

March 1, 2010 (Interfax-Ukraine) Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Monday said its administration is considering withdrawing the title of Hero of Ukraine to controversial World War II figure, Stepan Bandera, who was given the honor posthumously by former President Viktor Yuschenko. "We did raise this issue. This issue is under consideration in Ukraine, both at political level and at the level of Ukrainian legislation, that is in judicial affairs. We will give our response to this issue very soon," Yanukovych told reporters in Brussels after meeting with European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek. Yanukovych said Yuschenko's decree of January 22 to confer the Hero of Ukraine title on Bandera, who was a right-wing nationalist guerrilla leader in the 1930s and 1940s, had "caused a great stir" in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Polish President Lech Kaczynski condemned the decree and denounced the conferment of the status of liberation fighters on militants from the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and its military arm, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). Protests against the decision were also held in Russia.