Zakharova: “A few days ago the Verkhovna Rada included the birthday of the odious Ukrainian nationalist Stepan Bandera (January 1) on the list of official celebrations in 2019. (By the way, leader of Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, named after this Nazi collaborator, Stefan Romaniw lives in Australia) Earlier, the Lvov Region administration passed a resolution to declare 2019 as the “Year of Stepan Bandera” in that part of Ukraine.
Let me just take a moment to tell you whose name will be celebrated in Ukraine on January 1 so that you have a better understanding who this person was. In fact, many have no idea who this is all about.
The name of Stepan Bandera is used by the Kiev regime as a foundation for building the state ideology of today’s Ukraine by presenting him as a hero and patriot and imposing this image on Ukrainian society. At the same time, evidence of collaboration by Stepan Bandera and his acolytes with the Nazi regime and crimes against civilians are either denounced as fakes, swept under the carpet or derided. However, no matter what the Kiev regime does, the truth about Stepan Bandera and his Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists is well known. Let me remind you a few facts.
In the late 1930s, the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) maintained close cooperation with the secret services of Hitler’s Germany. In August 1939, the Abwehr (German military intelligence) created a 600-strong subversive operations unit, consisting of OUN members, code named “Bergbauernhilfe” (“peasant’s help”). It was tasked with engineering an anti-Polish insurgency in Western Ukraine and cleansing the territory of “unwanted elements,” meaning Polish and Jewish people. After the invasion of #Poland, these members were assigned to police units in the eastern part of the occupied Poland. It did not take long before the OUN was granted a legal status by the Nazis, and its members were sent to guard industrial sites on the Polish territory. In the spring of 1940, the Master Plan for the OUN Insurgency Headquarters was prepared. It was aimed at staging an anti-Soviet armed insurgency in Western Ukraine, and was used as a guide to action by the so-called Krakow Krajowa Egzekutywa OUN, headed by Stepan Bandera. Guided by this document, OUN fighters operating in Western Ukraine compiled the so-called blacklists of people belonging to ethnic minorities “hostile to the insurgency” (Jews, Russians, Poles), as well as those who cooperated with the Soviet government, #RedArmy officers, members of the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) and those who came from eastern Ukraine. This is what lies at the core of the ideology and policy currently promoted by Kiev. No one is even trying to hide this. So Stepan Bandera is viewed as a hero. The problem is that everything that was done within this framework in the late 1930s happened under the direct supervision of the Nazis. But now everything is done to conceal these links, so that no one remembers about it.
In April 1941, the OUN broke up when its most radical leaders followed Bandera to form the OUN-B, while more moderate members supported Andriy Melnyk and came to be known as the OUN-M. In May 1941, the OUN-B developed a new insurgency plan titled The OUN Struggle and Operation During the War. It contained special provisions on “neutralising” Russians, Jews and Poles as the main supporters of “the NKVD forces and Soviet power in Ukraine.”
Marching units were formed within the OUN-B even before the hostilities broke out. Their mission was to follow Wehrmacht’s advancing forces. A special unit headed by OUN-B leader Yaroslav Stetsko was sent to Lvov. In the morning of June 30, the Nachtigall (Nightingale) Battalion of Ukrainian nationalists, formed by the German Abwehr and commanded by Roman Shukhevych, followed by Yaroslav Stetsko’s group, entered Lvov. Posters of the local OUN-B branch appeared on the walls around the city. I will not quote word for word what these posters said, but the message was to call on the people to remember that Moscow, Poland, the Magyars as well as other ethnic groups were the enemy that was subject to extermination. The posters also said that the Ukrainian nationalists from the OUN were to take control, and declared Stepan Bandera as the leader of this force. This is a historical fact that must not be forgotten. This is not a monument that can be destroyed. This is something that will always remain part of the history of the Second World War.
The roughnecks under the OUN-B banners (the so-called “militias”) started Jewish pogroms in the city. At the same time, special groups were formed within the Nachtigall Battalion tasked with eliminating people on the blacklists that I have already mentioned. Within just a few days about 4,000 Jews were killed in Lvov by Ukrainian nationalists in cooperation with members of Einsatzgruppe B. German documents show that in addition to Lvov, the Ukrainian nationalists staged anti-Jewish campaigns in a number of other major communities. For example, a campaign comparable in scale to what happened in Lvov took place on July 2 and 3 in Zolochev (Złoczów), Lvov Region, where some 3,500 civilians were killed.
In August 1941, the Abwehr decided to stop supporting the OUN-B since Hitler saw no benefit in the emergence of an independent Ukrainian state. Nevertheless, the OUN-B continued to declare its allegiance to the Nazis. For example, Yaroslav Stetsko called on Ukrainians “to help the German army defeat Moscow and Bolshevism throughout the land.” In December 1941, the OUN‑B sent a memorandum to the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories Alfred Rosenberg, offering its assistance in fighting the “covert agents” of the “Bolshevik Moscow.” They did not come up with anything new. All they could think of was to use the old models and schemes.
In the autumn of 1942, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) was formed from OUN-B’s paramilitary units. According to witness accounts, the need to fight Soviet partisans was one of the reasons that pushed the nationalists to create the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. It also declared the Polish population in the Volhynia region as its enemy. In the summer of 1943, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army carried out ethnic cleansing in the Polish communities, killing 40,000 people, according to Polish historians, in what came to be known as the “Volhynian slaughter.” Jews, Roma and Red Army soldiers who had fled from captivity and were hiding in Ukrainian villages were also targeted.
When the Eastern Front reached a turning point at the end of 1943, the Nazi command revived the idea of making use of the Ukrainian nationalists and contacted the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. When the Nazi troops were pushed out of Ukraine, the Third Reich’s secret services continued to use the Banderovites in subversion and intelligence operations behind the Red Army lines. Stepan Bandera gave his go ahead to subversion operations carried out in the Red Army’s rear. He visited Abwehr’s training schools for intelligence officers to give instructions. An officer of the German military intelligence S. Muller confirmed during interrogation that in early April 1945 Stepan Bandera, acting on the instructions of the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt), formed Ukrainian nationalists into combat units as part of Volkssturm to defend Berlin from the Red Army offensive.
In 2007, Chairman of the Soviet Officer’s Union of Crimea Sergey Nikulin asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel to help find data on the casualties suffered by Nazi troops from the OUN-UPA (https://ria.ru/20141015/1028407140.html). This request was forwarded to a number of major German research institutions, and the answer was that they did not have any information on the losses suffered by Wehrmacht’s combat units from the OUN-UPA. This is a telling example in the context of the attempts by the Kiev authorities to portray the Banderovites as fighters against Nazi occupation.
What conclusions can be drawn from all this? First, terror campaigns carried out by Ukrainian nationalists and Banderovites against the Jewish, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian population were planned in advance rather than spontaneous. This is what many prominent historians believe. Preparations for exterminating the unwanted elements were underway even before the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War, as confirmed by the OUN’s internal documents. Stepan Bandera as the OUN’s leader was aware of and approved all the pre-war plans and instructions to liquidate the unwanted population in Western Ukraine and people on all the blacklists. For this reason, all claims that Stepan Bandera was not aware of these plans or, for example, did not sanction the massacres in Lvov and other cities in Western Ukraine in the summer of 1941, and all the crimes committed by his subordinates later during the war, are absurd. They are nothing but lies.
Second, from the very outbreak of the Second World War and until its very end in Europe Stepan Bandera and the OUN-B were obedient tools in the hand of Hitler’s forces, who used the Banderovites when they deemed fit. Even when the OUN-B was out of favour with the Germans, its leaders nevertheless continued to take their cues from Berlin and did not engage in any active combat action against the German occupants. Stepan Bandera later resumed his cooperation with the Nazis, which continued until the very last days of the Third Reich.
“The Year of Bandera” in Lvov is an insult to the beautiful city, where one of the worst pogroms in history was carried out at the orders of the leader of Ukrainian nationalists. Celebrating Stepan Bandera’s birthday is an insult to the people of Ukraine, since Banderovites killed thousands of their ancestors. All this mayhem is an insult to all those who liberated the world from the Brown Plague”.