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10 Jul, 2014 19:02

MPs in Western Ukrainian Lvov demand Poroshenko reinstate Nazi collaborators as national heroes

MPs in Western Ukrainian Lvov demand Poroshenko reinstate Nazi collaborators as national heroes

The city council of Lvov in western Ukraine has urged the Nazi collaborators and nationalist icons, Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevich, be reinstated as heroes of Ukraine.

“We demand the president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, reissue a decree awarding Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevich the title of heroes of Ukraine,” says an address by Lvov’s city council, as cited by Ukraine's UNIAN news agency.

According to the MPs behind the claim, the move would confirm Poroshenko as “an independent president of the Ukrainian state, for which the head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), Stepan Bandera, and commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), Roman Shukhevich, fought and gave their lives.”

Neo-Nazis march in Lvov 'in honor' of Ukrainian Waffen SS division

Bandera and Shukhevich were awarded the title of heroes of Ukraine in 2007 and 2010 respectively, under President Viktor Yushchenko, who came to power in 2005 after the Orange Revolution.

But the Nazi collaborators were deprived of the honors as soon as Viktor Yanukovych, who was mainly supported in the eastern regions of the country, came to power.

Ukrainian ultra-nationalists they march in the center of the western city of Lvov on April 27, 2014 to mark the 71st anniversary of 14th SS-Volunteer Division "Galician" foundation. (AFP Photo / Yuriy Dyachyshyn)

In April 2010, Donetsk District Administrative Court declared Yushchenko’s decrees to award Bandera and Shukhevich the titles of heroes of Ukraine illegal.

There were several appeals to higher judiciaries against the Donetsk court ruling, but they were all turned down.

Bandera’s Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) nationalist movement collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II and was involved in the ethnic cleansing of Poles, Jews, and Russians.

The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which Shukhevich headed, was OUN’s military wing.

In the summer of 1941, Bandera called on “the people of Ukraine to help the German army to defeat Moscow and Bolshevism.”

Whitewashing Ukraine’s Nazi collaborators ‘morally repulsive’ – Russia’s UN envoy

However, Bandera and Hitler failed to reach an agreement as Nazi Germany refused to support the idea of an independent Ukrainian state.

Activists of the Svoboda (Freedom) Ukrainian nationalist party hold torches as they take part in a rally to mark the 105th year since the birth of Stepan Bandera, one of the founders of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), in Kiev January 1, 2014.(Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)