Pawel Jablonski said that a "significant dispute" over Polish demands to exhume victims of the massacre must be settled if Poland is to be an ally of Ukraine in the bloc.
Ukraine will not join the EU if there is no resolution with Poland to a dispute over the exhumation of Polish victims of a wartime massacre by Ukrainians, a deputy Polish foreign minister has said.
Between 1943-44, around 100,000 Poles were slaughtered by the ultra-nationalist Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) in the Volhynia and Eastern Galicia regions of pre-war eastern Poland (today part of western Ukraine).
The killings still cast a shadow over Ukrainian-Polish relations despite the close bonds between the two countries forged by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Although there were many killings, in a number of villages, the slaughter is collectively referred to as the Volhynia Massacre.
Pawel Jablonski said that a “significant dispute” over Polish demands to exhume victims of the massacre must be settled if Poland is to be an ally of Ukraine in the bloc.
Speaking to private radio station Radio Zet on Tuesday, Jablonski defended the government’s record on exhumations.
“Exhumations in the first location, which have been the subject of talks (with Ukraine – PAP), have already started … this is not actually Volhynia, it is another part, but they are also victims of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army,” Jablonski said.
In response to the observation that this involved only a search operation with no consent yet for exhumations, the deputy minister replied: “We will work further on this, so that it occurs as quickly as possible.
“In our opinion, without a solution to this issue – and many Ukrainians already realise this – Ukraine cannot dream of joining the European Union,” Jablonski continued.
“We will absolutely underscore that without a solution to this issue, long-term reconciliation with Ukraine cannot be built,” he said.