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Poland’s ally, Ukraine, promises to make amends for a World War II slaughter

Ukraine has offered to seek reconciliation with Poland after a World War II-era massacre in which tens of thousands of Poles were killed by Ukrainian nationalists.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday it was ready to work with its Polish counterpart to create an “atmosphere of full reconciliation, mutual understanding and respect.”

The statement was made in response to a request from Poland for an apology for the 1943 massacre of innocent civilians in the Volhynia region of what is now Ukraine. An estimated 70,000-100,000 people were killed in the calculated killings, which were perpetrated by members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, a right-wing nationalist militia.

The Ukrainian government has so far refused to issue an official apology, arguing that it was an event of the past and that reconciliation was more important than assigning blame.

In a statement on its website, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that Ukraine “has been making strenuous efforts to restore peace, forgiveness and mutual understanding among former enemies” and that it will continue to work with Poland “to build bridges of friendship between our peoples.”

It also noted that both Ukraine and the European Union have committed to fighting all forms of hatred and resolving long-standing conflicts.

The Ministry said it is willing to discuss “ways and means to promote tolerance, mutual understanding and reconciliation between our peoples.”

The statement concludes that Ukraine is “ready to finally overcome the legacy of World War II and to move forward in our bilateral relations and in Europe.”