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Poland can claim compensation for Katyn Massacre: President Duda

On Monday, the Polish president met descendants of the victims of the 1940 Katyn Massacre at Warsaw’s Katyn Museum. During his speech, Andrzej Duda emphasised that Poland can claim compensation from Russia for the crime, as the country is “the heir of the Soviet Union.”

Katyn massacre must be tried in international courts: President Duda

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“Responsibility for Katyn lies with the Soviet authorities. Today’s Russia is the heir of the Soviet Union, hence we [Poland] can claim compensation from the Russian state” Andrzej Duda said, adding that “this is the path we should pursue.”

The Katyn Massacre was a series of mass executions of Polish POWs, mainly military officers and policemen, carried out by the NKVD (the interior ministry of the Soviet Union) in April and May 1940. The killings took place at several locations but the massacre is named after the Katyn Forest in west Russia, where some of the mass graves of the victims were first discovered.

Denial of responsibility

The victim count is estimated at approximately 22,000 with about 8,000 of the victims being officers imprisoned following the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland. Another 6,000 were police officers, the rest were Polish intellectuals, deemed to be intelligence agents and saboteurs by the Soviets.

The perpetrators denied responsibility for the killings, claiming they had been carried out by the Germans, until 1990, when it officially acknowledged that the NKVD had carried them out.

Soviet responsibility for the Katyn killings was confirmed by an investigation conducted by the office of the Prosecutors General of the Soviet Union (1990–1991) and the Russian Federation (1991–2004), however, the country refused to classify them as a war crime or genocide.

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