President Viktor Yushchenko on Sunday spoke at a celebration to mark the 65th anniversary of the Ukrainian Rebel Army. “The memory of each hero and every victim of the struggle for Ukraine’s liberation, freedom and independence is sacred and undividable,” he said, describing this military force as an “invincible, undefeated and one of the most tragic armies of the 20th century”, president's press office reported 

The President said it was important to help the nation appreciate the historic significance of the Ukrainian Rebel Army. “Let us not avoid any difficult pages of our history and in such a way let us restore the truth which is based on the Ukrainian nation’s great exploit – the exploit of the people who defeated death and asserted their state,” he said and added that the Ukrainian Rebel Army had fought against Ukraine’s two biggest enemies – Nazism and Communism. “The Ukrainian Rebel Army united people of different nationalities and different political outlooks. This fact is principally important to understand the liberating nature of their struggle.”

He said Ukraine, like other countries and peoples of the world, “condemns totalitarianism and disrespect for human and national life.”

Yushchenko expressed confidence historians “will make a full and impartial assessment” of those events. “I call on governmental bodies, society, Ukrainian and foreign researchers to continue their work aimed at learning and helping people learn the truth about the Ukrainian Rebel Army,” he said. “The revival of the historical truth means our common advance.”

The President said Ukraine was indebted to the URA veterans. “Ukraine must not and cannot divide its veterans, their fates and their love of the motherland. I firmly believe that our common and light memory of the past will be the highest triumph of our national wisdom,” he said, expressing hopes Ukraine’s society will compromise and resolve this controversy. “I resolutely and unambiguously demand the state must recognize the veterans of the Ukrainian Rebel Army and call on Ukraine’s new parliament and next government to make this decision,” he said.

Yushchenko then presented state awards to several veterans and said Roman Shukhevych, commander of the Ukrainian Rebel Army, had been posthumously awarded the Hero of Ukraine Order.

Before the celebration, President Yushchenko and the veterans observed one minute of silence to honor those who had been killed and injured in gas blast in Dnipropetrovsk on October 13.


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