The blood we have shed together and the graves of brothers in arms have laid a cornerstone for mutual understanding between our nations and for shared good fortune. Now, after two years of strenuous battles against the barbaric invader I bid farewell to the splendid army of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. I affirm that at the most difficult times, with all the battle odds against it, its soldiers held its banners high; on those banners was the motto “For our freedom and yours!” which is the credo of every honest soldier

Józef Piłsudski


Ukraine had a leading role in Józef Piłsudski’s plans for a federation. During the Polish–Soviet War he decided to form an alliance with the Ukrainian People’s Republic and its leader Symon Petlyura as, like Poland, it was resisting Russian imperialism. A pact was signed on 21 April 1920 in which Poland acknowledged Ukraine’s right to exist as an independent state. The border between Poland and Ukraine was to run along the river Zbruch. A military convention was agreed on 24 April 1920 which stated, ‘the Polish and Ukrainian armies shall undertake operations jointly as allied forces’. The Ukrainian government was to create civilian and military governing structures on the territory recaptured from the Red Army. Despite some initial successes, such as gaining control of Kiev, the allies did not manage to liberate Ukraine. The Treaty of Riga agreed between Poland and Bolshevik Russia in 1921 put an end to the opportunity to create an independent Ukrainian state and in this respect Piłsudski’s eastern policy failed to achieve its goals.


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