Ukrainians march in memory of WWII nationalist army
More than 2,000 people marched through the centre of Kiev Thursday to mark the anniversary of the formation of Ukraine's World War II nationalist and anti-Soviet UPA partisan army.
Carrying torches they shouted “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!” as they marched along a central Kiev street through wafts of smoke from smoke canisters to mark the 68th anniversary of the formation of the group.
A large number of police were deployed by authorities, who were fearful of clashes with communists who gathered nearby and consider the UPA as having been Nazi collaborators.
The UPA — which was founded in 1942 and at one point numbered around 40,000 fighters — initially welcomed the German invasion of the Soviet Union as a liberation from Communist rule.
It later turned against Berlin, but when the Soviet Red Army swept back into Ukraine the UPA fought against it too, continuing its attacks until well after the end of World War II.
The UPA has bitterly divided Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east from its Ukrainian-speaking west.