Reset in Polish-Ukrainian relations

President Volodymyr Zelensky expresses delight at the results of talks he held on Sunday in Warsaw. According to the Ukrainian President they marked “not a thaw, but a breakthrough in relations.”

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky commented on the first day of his visit to Poland on Sunday. He was in Warsaw for the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the start of WWII.

In a social-media post, the Ukrainian head of state reported that he had talked to Polish President Andrzej Duda to resolve contentious issues with regard to past history. “Under the patronage of Andrzej Duda and mine, we are once more activating a working group.”

He acknowledged that the two sides will now resume excavation and exhumation efforts aimed at finding the remains of Polish and Ukrainian troops killed in WWII and its aftermath.

“This is a very painful matter, but respect for each other and political will to build strategic relations mean that we can complete our joint efforts to explore the painful chapters of our history,” wrote President Zelensky on Sunday.

He also wrote that the two countries would take care of statues and places of burial of both Poles and Ukrainians in both countries. The Ukrainian head of state also proposed that there be a memorial built on the border dedicated to reconciliation between Ukrainians and Poles.

The two presidents also discussed problems relating to bilateral trade and energy cooperation between Warsaw, Kyiv and the US.

The Ukrainian President met both President Duda and PM Mateusz Morawiecki during his visit. The visit took place with the backdrop of problems in Kyiv-Warsaw relations around the issue of exhumations of Polish soldiers that the Ukrainian side had blocked after a statue commemorating the controversial Ukrainian forces, the UPA, had been dismantled in Hruszowice.