President Petro Poroshenko has credited Ukraine with an "enormous" contribution to the defeat of Nazism during World War II.
"The enormous contribution of Ukraine to the victory over Nazism was reflected in the recognition of Ukraine, along with the USSR and Belarus, as one of the founder states of the United Nations in 1945. Such a high appraisal was even acceptable to Stalin, who can hardly be accused of too much liking for Ukraine," Poroshenko said at a meeting at the opera theater of Odessa during which he handed decorations to World War II veterans.
The meeting was an event marking the 71st anniversary of Odessa's liberation from Nazi occupation.
The president attacked "the current Russian leadership" for a "shocking" statement, "a statement offensive and humiliating to each of our veterans and to all Ukrainians - that Russia would have won the war without us."
"The war couldn't have been won without the Ukrainians! There's nothing there to argue about! One may, though, talk about the possibility of the war having been avoided if the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact hadn't been signed in 1939," he said.
He mentioned that Ukraine and Belarus had ended up being in the epicenter of fighting during the war, that about 6 million Ukrainians had fought in Red Army ranks, and that 2,072 Ukrainians had been awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
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