Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Polish, Ukrainian Leaders to Hold Icebreaker Meeting

December 12, 2017 ( Relations between Poland and Ukraine have deteriorated as the national narratives of each side collide head-on. Polish President Andrzej Duda’s visit to Ukraine will go ahead despite an explosion that damaged a Polish tourist bus, his office announced yesterday. Duda will visit Ukraine as planned tomorrow "despite various incidents," Pawel Mucha, the deputy head of the Polish president's chancellery, told Radio Poland, Interfax-Ukraine reports. No one was injured when an explosive device, described as a grenade by witnesses, went off under an empty Polish tourist bus near the western city of Lviv on Saturday. Warsaw and Kyiv both condemned the incident, the Irish Times reports. Someone is trying hard to put us at odds with Poland and disrupt the visit of President Duda. We will do everything to investigate this incident. And I say to the provocateurs – you won’t succeed,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin said. The official reason for President Duda’s visit to Ukrainian is to discuss with his counterpart President Petro Poroshenko in Kharkiv the security situation in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine, but soothing strained bilateral relations is the subtext, the Irish Times says.

Many see the meeting in Kharkiv between Polish President Duda and Ukrainian President Poroshenko as an attempt to smooth recently strained relations. Image: Petro Poroshenko/ Facebook
 Longstanding differences over massacres of Ukrainian and Polish civilians during World War II have risen to the surface in the past year, compounded by several incidents of vandalism at Polish war cemeteries and memorials in Ukraine. Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski recently accused Kyiv of ramping up tension by blocking the work of a Polish team searching for the remains of Polish war crime victims. Warsaw retaliated last month by barring entry to the secretary of a Ukrainian commission for remembrance when he tried to cross the border, Radio Poland reported. Waszczykowski had earlier said Warsaw was considering barring Ukrainians with “anti-Polish views” from entering the country.

 In the Kharkiv region, Presidents of Ukraine and Poland paid tribute to the victims of the totalitarian regime