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Poland and Ukraine honour victims of Stalin's purges

Poland and Ukraine honour victims of Stalin's purges
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The Presidents of Poland and Ukraine opened a new a memorial to remember thousands of lives lost at the hands of Joseph Stalin’s secret police.

Euronews correspondent Evgeniya Rudyenko, at the site in Kiev, said: “The Poles joined a liturgy in memory of the soldiers killed – after the official opening of the memorial to the victims of totalitarianism. Poles call this place the fourth Katyn Memorial Cemetery.”

The memorial is part of the Bykiv-NYA remembrance site, where up to 120,000 people are buried. These include some 22,000 from Poland.

President Bronislaw Komorowski said: “This is a life experience of our nations and a drama of our people who lived in the system of totalitarianism, and now have a common vision of future.”

Ukraine’s President Victor Yanukovich spoke of how the tragedy has had an impact on almost all in his country.

One lady describedthe day her father was taken.

“I was five years old,” she said.

“I remember people in leather coats coming to our home and taking my Dad away. That’s all. After that me and my mother became enemies of the state.”

In what is known as the ‘Katyn’ massacre, Stalin ordered the killing of Polish officers and other prisoners of war when the Soviet Union took over part of Poland in the late 1930s, as an attempt to wipe out the country’s elite.