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    Polish Public Calls for Official Apology from Ukrainian President over Volhynia Massacre

    In a recent survey conducted by CBOS, it was revealed that a significant majority of the Polish public, 78 percent to be precise, strongly believes that Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky should officially apologize for the tragic events known as the Volhynia massacre. This massacre, which took place between 1943 and 1944, resulted in the brutal slaughter of approximately 100,000 Poles by the ultra-nationalist Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) in the Volhynia and Eastern Galicia regions of pre-war eastern Poland, which now form part of western Ukraine.

    Despite the close bonds formed between Ukraine and Poland due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, these killings continue to cast a long shadow over Ukrainian-Polish relations. As the 80th anniversary of the massacre approaches in July, tensions surrounding this historical tragedy persist.

    The CBOS research further revealed that 92 percent of Poles are aware of the events of the Volhynia massacre, solidifying the significance of this historical event in the collective memory of the Polish people. The upcoming anniversary has prompted a strong demand for an official apology from President Zelensky, with 78 percent of those polled expressing the belief that he should extend an apology. Of the respondents, 50 percent firmly stated that an apology should be given immediately, while 28 percent suggested that it could be addressed after the ongoing war. On the other hand, 13 percent believed that an apology was unnecessary, while 9 percent had no opinion on the matter.

    Furthermore, the CBOS survey indicated a noteworthy shift in Polish-Ukrainian relations. The percentage of Poles who perceive these relations as good has more than doubled since 2018, increasing from 29 percent to 64 percent. Merely 4 percent of the respondents regarded the current state of relations as bad, demonstrating an overall positive outlook on the bilateral ties between the two nations.

    CBOS conducted this survey between June 5 and 18, 2023, employing a mixed-mode procedure on a representative sample of 1,054 adult residents of Poland. As the anniversary of the Volhynia massacre approaches, the survey results shed light on the sentiments and expectations of the Polish public, calling for a formal apology from the Ukrainian President to address the historical wounds that still affect the relationship between the two countries.


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