Vandals paint Nazi graffiti on Polish graves in Ukraine
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Vandals paint Nazi graffiti on Polish graves in Ukraine

Culprits daub name of SS unit made up of Ukrainian volunteers at burial site; foreign minister denounces action

A Nazi symbol is seen painted on a memorial stone at a cemetery where Poles are buried in Bykivnia near the capital Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. The inscription reads SS Galitchina, a reference to the Galicia division of the Nazi SS organization made up mostly of ethnic Ukrainian volunteers during WW II (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A Nazi symbol is seen painted on a memorial stone at a cemetery where Poles are buried in Bykivnia near the capital Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. The inscription reads SS Galitchina, a reference to the Galicia division of the Nazi SS organization made up mostly of ethnic Ukrainian volunteers during WW II (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

KIEV, Ukraine — Unidentified vandals have spray-painted Nazi graffiti at a memorial cemetery in Ukraine where some Poles are buried.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin denounced the vandals’ action Wednesday at the Bykivnia memorial on the outskirts of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital.

Bykivnia is a burial place for victims of the Soviet secret police, including some Poles, who were executed in the 1920s-1940s.

Vandals spray-painted the name of SS division Galicia, a Nazi unit consisting of Ukrainian volunteers, on one tombstone at Bykivnia. They also put the name of UNA-UNSO, a Ukrainian far-right nationalist organization.

Poland and Ukraine have friendly ties, but some in Poland harbor bitter memories about the killings of up to 100,000 Poles by Ukrainian nationalists in 1943-1944 in Volyn and the eastern Galicia regions, which are now part of Ukraine.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be held on Friday, 72 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.

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