Polish–Ukrainian relations as international relations were revived soon after Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. They have been both improving and deteriorating since. Various controversies from their shared history occasionally resurface in Polish–Ukrainian relations, but they are not having a major influence on the bilateral relations of Poland and Ukraine.
Ukraine and Poland are respectively, the second and third largest Slavic countries, after Russia. The two countries share a border of about 529 km. Poland's acceptance of the Schengen Agreement created problems with the Ukrainian border traffic. On July 1, 2009, an agreement on local border traffic between the two countries came into effect, which enables Ukrainian citizens living in border regions to cross the Polish frontier according to a liberalized procedure.
Ukraine is the country with the largest number of Polish consulates.
History of relationsPolish-Ukrainian relations can be traced to the 16th-17th centuries in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the often turbulent relations between that state and the mostly polonized nobility and the Cossacks. And even further into the 13th-14th centuries when the Kingdom of Poland and the Ruthenian Kingdom maintained close ties. Present day relations remain somewhat turbulent.
The next stage would be the relations in the years 1918–1920, in the aftermath of World War I, which saw both the Polish-Ukrainian War and the Polish-Ukrainian alliance. The interwar period would eventually see independent Poland while the Ukrainians had no state of their own, being divided between Poland and the Soviet Union. This led to a deterioration of Polish-Ukrainian relations, and would result in a flare-up of ethnic tensions during and immediately after World War II.
While this left the Polish-Ukrainian relations in the mid-20th century in a relatively poor state, there was little meaningful and independent diplomacy and contact between the Polish People's Republic and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The situation changed significantly with the fall of communism, when both Poland and Ukraine became fully independent and could once again decide on foreign policies of their own.
Modern eraOn October 13, 1990 Poland and Ukraine agreed to the "Declaration on the foundations and general directions in the development of Polish-Ukrainian relations". Article 3 of this declaration said that neither country has any territorial claims against the other, and will not bring any in the future. Both countries promised to respect the rights of national minorities on their territories and to improve the situation of minorities in their countries.
Support for Ukrainian sovereignty has become an important component of Polish foreign policy. Poland strongly supported the peaceful and democratic resolution of the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and has backed NATO-Ukraine cooperation, as well as Ukraine's efforts to join the European Union.
Poland has been an avid supporter of Ukraine throughout the tumultuous period of the Euromaidan and the 2014 Crimean Crisis. The Polish government has campaigned for Ukraine in the European Union and is a supporter of sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine. Poland has declared that they will never recognize the annexation of Crimea by Russia. In 2014, Poland's ex-foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski alleged that in 2008, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to then Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in the division of Ukraine between Poland and Russia. Sikorski later stated that some words had been over-interpreted, and that Poland did not take part in annexations. Especially during this period, Poland took a large number of Ukrainian refugees.
Different interpretations of bitter events regarding Poles and Ukrainians during World War II have led to a sharp deterioration of the relations between the nations since 2015.
Historical issues regarding the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and their massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia remain a contested topic. Ukrainian memory laws passed in 2015, honoring UPA, related organizations and its members, were criticized in Poland. In turn, in July 2016, the Polish Sejm passed a resolution, authored by the Law and Justice party, making July 11 a National Day of Remembrance of Victims of Genocide, noting that over 100,000 Polish citizens were massacred during a coordinated attack by the UPA. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko voiced regrets on the decision, arguing that it can led to "political speculation". In response, Ukrainian MP Oleksii Musii drafted a resolution declaring March 24 "Memorial Day of the Victims of Polish state genocide against Ukrainians in 1919-1951". The Marshal of the Polish Senate Stanislaw Karczewski condemned the motion.
In 2016, a special screening of the Polish film Volhynia by the Polish Institute in Kiev for Ukrainian MPs was postponed due to concerns that it may disrupt public order, on recommendations from the Ukrainian foreign ministry.
In April 2017 the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance forbade the exhumation of Polish victims of the 1943 massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia as part of the broader action of halting the legalization of Polish memorial sites in Ukraine, in a retaliation for the dismantling of a monument to UPA soldiers in Hruszowice, Western Poland.
and Andrzej Duda, 2019
Polish President Andrzej Duda expressed his concerns with appointment to high Ukrainian offices of people expressing nationalistic anti-Polish views. The Ukrainian foreign ministry stated that there is no general anti-Polish sentiment in Ukraine.
In 2018, novelized Article 2a of the Polish Act on the Institute of National Remembrance, which from then on discusses the "crimes of Ukrainian nationalists and members of Ukrainian organizations collaborating with the Third German Reich", again caused criticism from the Ukrainian side. In Ukraine, the Amendment has been called "the Anti-Banderovite Law".
In August 2019, President Volodymyr Zelensky promised to lift the moratorium on exhuming Polish mass graves in Ukraine after the previous Ukrainian government banned the Polish side from carrying out any exhumations of Polish victims of the UPA-perpetrated Volhynian massacres.
On 28 July 2020, Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania entered into a new international collaboration format known as the "Lublin Triangle". It was signed in the city of Lublin, eastern Poland, by the Foreign Ministers of Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania: Jacek Czaputowicz, Dmytro Kuleba and Linas Linkevičius respectively. The Ukrainian foreign minister said that the new format "will be an important element in the development and strengthening of Central Europe, but also in strengthening Ukraine as a full member of the European and Euro-Atlantic family". The cooperation will not only concern defense issues but will also involve bolstering economic cooperation, trade, and tourism between the three countries. A joint declaration on the creation of the Lublin Triangle stressed the importance of intensifying the cooperation between the EU, NATO, and the Eastern Partnership and paying special attention to the development of the Three Seas Initiative.
Resident diplomatic missions
- Poland has an embassy in Kiev and consulates-general in Kharkiv, Lutsk, Lviv, Odessa and Vinnytsia.
- Ukraine has an embassy in Warsaw and consulates-general in Gdańsk, Kraków, Lublin and Opole.
|Ukrainian city/town||Polish city/town|
|Bila Tserkva||Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski|