THE UKRAINIAN INSURGENT ARMY: THE WORLD WAR II COMBATANTS IN UKRAINE

Although they have not yet been recognized by the Ukrainian state as war veterans who deserve official government pensions, the former soldiers of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) can justly be considered the unsung heros of World War II in Ukraine. In its struggle against the German and Soviet occupational regimes, the UPA’s ultimate goal was an independent and unified Ukrainian state. At the height of the UPA’s power, its units were composed not only of ethnic Ukrainians, but also of Azerbaidzhani, Uzbek, Georgian, and Tatar soldiers, and the UPA organized the Conference of the Oppressed Nations of Eastern Europe and Asia in order to support liberation struggles of other nations. After the Soviet ‘Great Blockade’ in the Carpathian Mountains in 1946, denied food and shelter, and forced to fight on the march at extremely low temperatures, the UPA (with the exception of the units operating in Ukrainian ethnic territories annexed by Poland after 1944) was forced to demobilize most combat troops. The UPA’s underground armed struggle continued until 1954. Learn more about the struggle for Ukrainian independence during World War II by visiting the following entries. READ MORE