If someone shouts “Kill Ukrainians!” at a Polish nationalist march in a city that was a battlefield in a Polish-Ukrainian war, it can be nothing other than a provocation by Moscow, the Polish ambassador to Ukraine stated.
Jan Pieklo sees “the hand of Kremlin” behind an incident that took place during an annual march of nationalist youths in the border city of Przemyśl on Saturday. As the column was passing a Ukrainian cultural center, one of the participants shouted “Death to Ukrainians,” footage of the incident shows.
The local Ukrainian diaspora said that this slogan, along with others of an anti-Ukrainian nature such as “Death to Banderas” and “Przemyśl and Lwow are Polish forever,” could be heard throughout the march. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has filed a complaint with Warsaw, demanding an investigation into the video, which was widely shown in the Ukrainian media.
Ambassador Pieklo explained his accusations implicating Russia while speaking to the media in Kiev, saying:
“The situation now is that Przemyśl is becoming a city of provocation. The mechanism is the same as Russian hybrid war. There is a demonstration; someone calls ‘Death to Ukrainians.’ Ten minutes, and the video is on the social networks. And then in the media. This is what the provocateurs want. Everybody says there is a problem in Polish-Ukrainian relations.”
“My opinion is, it’s not easy for Putin’s Russia to create a pro-Kremlin lobby in Poland and Ukraine,” Pieklo said, claiming that Moscow aims to “drive a wedge between Poles and Ukrainians through common history.”
The organizers of the march also believe there was a provocation, but they think it was initiated by Ukrainian nationalists who edited the shouting into footage of the march and released it online to spark tensions.
The Polish nationalists’ demonstration was called “March of the eaglets of Przemyśl and Lwow,” which refers to events in the Polish-Ukrainian war of the late 1910s. Both cities were previously part of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The kingdom had large Polish and Ukrainian populations, and when the empire collapsed, ethnic tensions flared into armed conflict. “Eaglets” is the term used in Poland for the young volunteers who fought for the Polish cause at the time.