Ukrainian Insurgent Army (1942-2012)

The socio-historical background:

The UIA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) has been founded on October 14, 1942 by a decision of the political leaders of OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) to protect the civil population of Ukraine, prosecuted by the German, Polish, and Soviet occupational authorities.

The terrible consequences of the soviet rule in Ukraine, starvations, repressions, terror in 1920 - 1941 in the eastern Ukraine and the mass murders, tortures and quartering of people in the NKVD prisons in the western Ukraine in 1939 - 1941 as well as Hitler’s policy, finally embittered people against German fascism and Moscow bolshevism.

The Ukrainian insurgent army fights for Ukrainian independent state and a free life for all nations in their own countries. Destruction of national oppression and exploitation of one nation by another, system of free nations living in their own free countries - this is the only way to guarantee a just solution of national and social issues all over the world.

The primary missions of the UIA were: struggle for independence of Ukraine, protection of civil population from occupants and punitive forces (German Gestapo, soviet NKVD and SMERSH). Therefore almost all subdivisions of the UIA were concerned with a certain territory and the UIA was organized by the territorial principle. The organization of the UIA was determined by its role of a national insurgent armed force fighting against occupants, by political conception of this struggle and its tactics.

Ukrainian history contains many great, tragic and heroic moments but it has a few events that would so deeply form the face of nation and so fundamentally change the style of its fight for liberation. From the battle acts of units and small groups, supported by all Ukrainian people, from spirit and moral of people hostile to the invaders of Ukraine, the armed force - Ukrainian insurgent army, army of all people and all cathedral Ukraine was created. seventy years ago the young generation of Ukraine had to do a great choice, a large dilemma: to heave up the fight on two fronts against two most powerful military forces of that time - Germany and Russia or to bow down before one of them and to go along with devil and support antichrist.

The Ukrainian insurgent army totally denied both hostile forces in Ukraine and did not adjust itself to either of them; the “coexistence” of the Ukrainian insurgent army with Germany and Russia was taking place on the battlefield, where machine guns roared and the invader’s warriors fell. From the point of view of the foreign policy the Ukrainian people began a national liberation war on two fronts - against the German Hitler’s army, who brutally destroyed the Ukrainian state re-established by a statement dd. June 30, 1941 and against godless Moscow bolshevists, pre-war and post-war invaders of Ukraine, who filled the NKVD prisons with blood of Ukrainian citizens.

The Ukrainian insurgent army began its fight for the ideals of people, for independence, freedom, truth and justice, for god and motherland, against slavery, tyranny, injustice, and lie. It defended people in every sense and led the folk fighting against injustices for a great future of Ukraine. The fight still goes on.

The military background

Ukrainian Insurgent Army (Ukr.: Ukrayinska Povstanska Armiya [UPA]). A Ukrainian military formation which fought from 1942 to 1949, mostly in western Ukraine, against the German and soviet occupational regimes. Its immediate purpose was to protect the Ukrainian population from German and soviet repression and exploitation; its ultimate goal was an independent and unified Ukrainian state.

The first UPA units appeared in western Volhyn (now Volhyn oblast and Rivne oblast). They were organized independently by Taras Borovets (in spring 1942), the OUN Bandera faction (from October 1942), and the OUN Melnyk faction (in spring 1943). As resistance to the Germans intensified, the military forces of the Bandera faction grew rapidly and established their control over many districts of Volhyn. When negotiations on the unification of the three groups failed, the most powerful group, the Bandera units, disarmed and absorbed the two other groups, in July and august 1943. Klym Savur, the leader of the OUN (b) for northwestern Ukraine, became the commander in chief of the unified UPA.

German auxiliary police and guard units, composed not only of ethnic Ukrainians but also of other nationals who had served in the red army, defected to the UPA. The number of non-Ukrainian UPA soldiers grew rapidly, and peaked in the late fall of 1943. They were organized into separate national units, the largest of which were the Azerbaidzhani, Uzbek, Georgian, and Tatar. In the autumn of 1943 the UPA established a secret armistice with Hungarian units which guarded German communication lines in Volhyn. Recognizing the importance of national aspirations, the UPA organized on 21-22 November, 1943 the conference of the oppressed nations of Eastern Europe and Asia. It was attended by representatives of 13 nationalities, who resolved to support each other’s liberation struggles.

Beginning in the summer of 1943, UPA units from the northwestern region conducted southward raids into Kamianets-Podilskyy and Vinnytsya oblast to undermine German control of this territory and to build up local insurgency forces. By the late autumn a new military grouping was consolidated under the command of Vasyl Kuk, the OUN leader for central Ukraine.

In the first two years of the German occupation the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) used Galicia as a training and supply area for the UPA. When a successful recruitment drive for the division Galizien was launched, in May-June 1943, and a large detachment of soviet partisans led by Sydir Kovpak made its way through Galicia into the Carpathian Mountains, in July 1943, the OUN decided to form military units in Galicia as well. Commanded by Oleksander Lutsky, these units were at first called the Ukrainian people’s self-defense. As insurgent activity increased, the Germans placed Galicia under martial law, in October 1943. This only provoked stronger resistance.

A single command for all three regions of Ukraine, the supreme command of the UPA, was set up on or about 22 November, 1943. The command consisted of the supreme commander and the supreme military headquarters or general staff, which was headed by the chief of staff and was divided into six sections: operations, intelligence, logistics, personnel, training, and political-education.

Roman Shukhevych was appointed commander in chief, and Dmytro Hrytsay became the chief of staff. The original UPA in Volhyn was named officially the UPA -north, the insurgent units in central Ukraine became the UPA -south, and the Ukrainian people’s self-defense in Galicia was renamed the UPA-west. With Vasyl Sydor’s appointment to commander of the new UPA -west in January 1944, the reorganization of the unified UPA was completed.

Each of the three krays (military districts) of the UPA was subdivided into military districts. At the beginning of 1944 there were at least 10 districts in total: 2 in the UPA -north, 6 in the UPA -west, and 2 in the UPA -south. In 1945 each district was subdivided into tactical sectors. Every district and sector had its commander and headquarters analogous to the general staff. This territorial organization of the UPA remained unchanged during the active combat period until 1949.

To broaden the social and political base of the armed struggle for Ukraine’s independence, the supreme command of the UPA took the initiative in setting up the Ukrainian supreme liberation council (15 July 1944), which served as a provisional government expressing the political will of the insurgency movement.

The basic combat unit during most of the UPA ‘s history was a company of 120 to 180 men. The standard UPA company had three platoons each with three squads (10 to 12 men armed with a light machine gun, two or three automatic weapons, and seven or more rifles). In 1943-45 most companies were organized into kurins (two to four companies per kurin), and under special conditions two or more kurins were combined into a zahin.

A kurin commander’s staff included a political-education officer, an adjutant, a sergeant major, and sometimes a chaplain and a medical doctor. Regardless of size, all combat units within one military district formed a group (hrupa).

The UPA did not receive aid from other countries; weapons, ammunition, medical supplies, and uniforms had to be seized from the enemy. Although it deployed some cavalry and artillery units during 1943-44, the UPA was basically an infantry force. According to some German intelligence reports in 1944, its strength was 200,000. According to a soviet source (1988), in 1944-46 some 56,600 UPA soldiers were killed, 108,500 were captured, and 48,300 surrendered voluntarily. According to UPA historians in the west, at its peak in 1944 the army had at least 25,000 and at most 40,000 men.

The UPA made use of two rank systems, a functional one and a traditional formal one (military ranks). The functional system was instituted because of an acute shortage of qualified and politically reliable officers during the early stages of organization. Those who demonstrated leadership ability were appointed to command positions regardless of formal rank or training. The most critical leadership shortages were found at the lower levels, i.e. the platoon and squad. Almost every district organized its own school, lasting four to six weeks, but the demand for qualified squad leaders could not be met. A severe shortage of medical officers was alleviated partly by enlisting Jewish doctors, who willingly joined the anti-Nazi resistance. The UPA also ran formal officer candidate schools, which produced approx 690 graduates.

Publishing was usually the responsibility of the political-education section. The UPA printed journals, such as “Do zbroji” (Ad arma (1943)) and “Povstanets” (Insurgent (1944-46)); newspapers; military textbooks; pamphlets for youth; and leaflets. Some military districts and tactical sectors published their own irregular periodicals (e.g. “Shlyakh peremohy” (the Path of Victory), “Chornyy lis” (Black Forest), and “Lisovyk” (Forestman). The best-known contributors to the UPA press were Y. Busel, Petro Poltava, Osyp Dyakiv, and the artists Nil Khasevych and Mykhaylo Chereshnovsky.

During 1943 the UPA staged some successful ambushes and battles against the Germans, establishing its control of the countryside in Volhyn. At the same time it cleared some of the region of soviet partisans and expanded its power southward and eastward.

In 1944 it fought its largest engagements with German and soviet forces. Retreating German units were frequently ambushed for their weapons and supplies. German attempts to secure areas of the Carpathian Mountains in the summer of 1944 led to several pitched battles with the UPA-west. But the main threat to the UPA was the soviet NKVD combat troops that arrived in the rear of the advancing red army with the special task of re-establishing soviet power.

During the first half of 1944 numerous ambushes, skirmishes, and large-scale battles occurred between NKVD forces and the zahony of the UPA-north and UPA-south. In February Vatutin, soviet commander of the first Ukrainian front, was mortally wounded in an ambush. On 24 April 30,000 NKVD troops encircled and fought 5,000 soldiers of the UPA-south at the battle of Hurby.

Modifying its tactics according to experience, the UPA gradually dispersed its larger units and operated mostly with companies which held specific territories and staged occasional propaganda raids into uncontrolled areas or neighboring countries. The first large-scale NKVD offensive against the UPA was conducted in the winter of 1944-45 in the Carpathian Mountains region. The UPA managed to preserve its control of the countryside and scored successful attacks against soviet administrative centers and garrisons.

With the ending of the war the returning red army divisions were turned against the UPA in the summer of 1945. The results were disappointing to the soviet regime, but its offer of amnesty to soldiers surrendering by 20 July, 1945 appeared more successful. Many men evading induction into the red army gave themselves up. The UPA used this opportunity to send home some discouraged or disabled soldiers. By 1949 there were at least four more amnesty calls.

The “great blockade” in the Carpathian Mountains from January to April 1946 was the only successful soviet offensive against the UPA. Special contingents of NKVD troops were stationed in all the towns and villages, and mobile combat units scoured the forests. Denied food and shelter, and forced to fight on the march at extremely low temperatures, the UPA experienced casualties of 40 percent. The supreme command decided to demobilize most combat units and ordered their surviving members to continue the struggle underground. The UPA command structure (kray, military district, and tactical-sector headquarters), however, continued to function.

The demobilization order did not apply to the forces of the sixth military district - the Sian division of the UPA -west, which operated in Ukrainian ethnic territories that were annexed by Poland after 1944. The division defended the Ukrainian population from forced deportations to the USSR in 1945 and 1946.

Having reached an understanding with the Polish home army, it conducted several joint operations against Polish security forces. On 28 march, 1947 the deputy defense minister of Poland was killed in an ambush by the Lemko company of the Ukrainian insurgent army under Stepan Stebelsky (“Khrin”).

In the spring and summer of 1947 the Polish authorities staged operation, in which the remaining Ukrainian population was deported by force to other parts of Poland. UPA battle losses went up sharply, and the surviving units were ordered either to cross into the USSR or to march across Czechoslovakia to West Germany. Remnants of company 95, led by M. Duda (“Hromenko”), reached West Germany on 11 September, 1947.

Some UPA units continued to operate in 1948 and 1949 in the Carpathian Hoverlia military district (Hoverlia, the 4th group of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army). They were usually composed of two platoons of two squads each, and had a total strength of 30 to 50 veteran noncommissioned officers. Except for two units, they were demobilized at the end of the summer of 1948. On 3 September, 1949, Roman Shukhevych ordered the command structure and the remaining combat units to be deactivated, and their members to be transferred to the underground network. After Shukhevych’s death (5 March, 1950) the underground continued the armed struggle under Vasyl Kuk’s (“Kovals”) leadership until 1954.


Taras Borovets (pseud: Bulba), b. 9 March, 1908 in Bystrychi, Rivne county, Volhyn gubernia, d. 15 May, 1981 in New York. Civic, political, and military leader. Under the interwar polish regime Borovets was imprisoned in the concentration camp at Bereza Kartuzka. During the first soviet occupation of western Ukraine (1939-41) he began organizing a Ukrainian underground in Polissya, which with the outbreak of the German-Soviet war, appeared as the Polissian Sich and fought Soviet, and later German, military units. In December 1941 it adopted the name Ukrainian insurgent army and on 20 July, 1943 changed its name to the Ukrainian people’s revolutionary army. Borovets led the revolutionary and military struggle according to the directives of the chiefs of staff of the government-in-exile of the Ukrainian national republic and put forth a democratic program. He was arrested in Berlin in late 1943 while negotiating with the Germans and was imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In West Germany after the war, he organized the Ukrainian national guard and published its organ, “Mech i volya” (Sword & Will (1951-53)). He emigrated eventually to the United States, where he led the life of a private citizen. Borovets’s memoirs, “Armiia bez derzhavy: slava i trahediya ukrayins’koho povstans’koho rukhu” (“An army without a state: the glory and the tragedy of the Ukrainian insurgent movement”), were published in Winnipeg in 1981.

Andriy Melnyk, b. 12 december, 1890 in Volia Yakubova, Drohobych county, Galicia, d. 1 November, 1964 in Koln, Germany. Military figure and political activist. His studies at the higher school of agriculture in Vienna (1912-14) were interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War, when he volunteered for the legion of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen. A company commander, he fought in the battles of Makivka and Lysonia before being taken prisoner in September 1916 by Russian forces and interned in Tsaritsyn and other locations. In captivity Melnyk became a close confidant of Yevhen Konovalets. After escaping imprisonment toward the end of 1917, he was one of the organizers of the Galician-Bukovynian battalion of Sich Riflemen (the original formation of the Sich Riflemen) in Kyiv and held senior positions in it (from battalion commander to second-in-command). From January 1919 he was chief of staff of the army of the Ukrainian national republic. After a short period as a polish prisoner of war, he became a military attaché for the Ukrainian national republic and lived in Prague and Vienna (1920-21), where he finished his forestry studies. From 1922 he lived in Galicia. Melnyk assumed the home command of the Ukrainian military organization in Galicia in 1922, after Yevhen Konovalets had left the country and set up its command center abroad. In the spring of 1924 Melnyk was arrested and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for his activities. He was freed toward the end of 1928, partly as a result of the efforts of the president of the directory of the Ukrainian national republic, Andrii Livytsky. He served as head of the Orly catholic association of Ukrainian youth in 1933-38, was involved with the Moloda hromada society, and maintained his underground nationalist connections and activity. After the assassination of Konovalets in 1938, Melnyk went abroad to head the organization of Ukrainian nationalists (OUN). His position was formally ratified in august 1939 at the OUN ‘s second grand assembly in Rome, but he could not retain the allegiance of the entire OUN membership. In 1940 a faction led by Stepan Bandera broke from the OUN to pursue a more radical course of action. The respective groups became known as melnykites and banderites. From 1941 Melnyk was kept under house arrest by the Germans until he was finally imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, in 1944. During this period Melnyk assigned the co-ordination of OUN activities on Ukrainian soil to his deputy, Oleh Olzhych. Together with other leading Ukrainian activists (Mykola Velychkivsky, metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky, Andriy Livytsky, Mykhailo Omelianovych-Pavlenko), Melnyk submitted a memorandum to Adolf Hitler in January 1942 demanding an end to German destructiveness in Ukraine. After the war he worked toward a consolidation of Ukrainian political and community life in the west. He was instrumental in the founding of the Ukrainian co-coordinating committee in 1946 and the Ukrainian national council in 1947. He proposed the idea of a world congress of Ukrainians in 1957; it was realized in 1967 with the founding of the world congress of free Ukrainians. Melnyk was also the author of historical articles on the Ukrainian independence struggle. From 1945 he lived in Luxembourg, where he is buried. A memorial book in his honor, edited by Marko Antonovych, was published in 1966. A monograph on his life, edited by Zynovii Knysh, appeared in 1974, and a collection of memoirs about him appeared in 1991 in Lviv.

Yevhen Konovalets, b 14 June, 1891 in Zhashkiv, Lviv county, Galicia, d 23 May, 1938 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Military commander with the rank of colonel in the army of the Ukrainian national republic, and political leader of the nationalist movement. Studying law at Lviv University, he was active in the Prosvita society and in the campaign for a Ukrainian university. He became active in politics as a student representative on the executive committee of the national Democratic Party. Serving as a second lieutenant in the Austrian army during the First World War, he was captured in 1915 by the Russians and interned in a prisoner of war camp near Tsaritsyn. There he joined a group of Galician officers (Andriy Melnyk, Roman Sushko, Vasyl Kuchabsky, Ivan Chmola, and F.Chernyk), escaped with them to Kyiv, and organized the Galician-Bukovynian battalion of the Sich Riflemen in November 1917. Two months later Konovalets assumed command of the battalion, which was reorganized and renamed the first battalion of Sich Riflemen. Committed to the idea of an independent and unified Ukraine, this force distinguished itself in suppressing the Bolshevik uprising in Kyiv, in resisting Mykhayil Muravev’s offensive, and in liberating Kyiv by March 1918. Because they refused to recognize the new hetman government, the Sich Riflemen were disarmed and disbanded by the hetman’s German allies. Prompted by the Ukrainian national union, Konovalets obtained the hetman’s permission to re-establish his unit and formed the separate detachment of Sich Riflemen in Bila Tserkva. In November 1918 this force played a key role in overthrowing Pavlo Skoropadsky and restoring the Ukrainian national republic. Later Konovalets expanded the detachment into a division, corps, and finally, a group. In December 1919 the force was demobilized, and its commander was interned in a polish prisoner of war camp in Lutsk. With Symon Petliura’s blessing he went to Prague in spring 1920 to win Galician support for a brigade formed of Ukrainian soldiers held in Czechoslovak internment camps and Italian prisoner of war camps. Yevhen Petrushevych’s strong opposition put an end to this plan. With the cessation of war, Konovalets decided to continue the struggle for independence by underground means. In summer 1921 here turned to Lviv to take charge of the Ukrainian military organization and to build up its organizational network. Emigrating in December 1922, he lived with his family in Berlin (1922-29), Geneva (1929-36), and Rome. He maintained control of the Ukrainian military organization and established contacts with foreign, particularly German and Lithuanian, intelligence and military circles. To win political support from western governments and public sympathy for the cause of Ukrainian independence, he promoted the setting up of foreign-language press bureaus and publishing houses abroad. Recognizing the various groups of young nationalists at home as his natural allies in the struggle for independence, he unified them into one organization, the organization of Ukrainian nationalists (OUN, 1929), and as the head of the leadership of Ukrainian nationalists, channeled their activities to politically motivated goals. During a visit to the United States of America and Canada, Konovalets encouraged his followers to establish Ukrainian veterans’ associations, which became the nuclei of nationalist community organizations: the organization for the rebirth of Ukraine in the United States and the Ukrainian national federation in Canada. In the 10 years in which he led the OUN, Konovalets consolidated its position in Ukraine and abroad, promoted the development of all-Ukrainian community organizations in France, Germany, and Austria, and tried to bring the Ukrainian national question to the attention of the League of Nations. His persistent efforts to revive the nationalist underground in soviet Ukraine led to his assassination by a Bolshevik agent. Konovalets was one of the most prominent figures in 20th-century Ukrainian history. As a military officer he was noted for his organizational abilities and loyalty to the Ukrainian national republic. As a political leader he was able to unite high principles with operational flexibility and to combine creative thinking with intricate organization and effective action. He enjoyed enormous personal authority among OUN cadres, and the respect of even his political adversaries. Konovalets set down his recollections about the war period in “Materials for the history of the Ukrainian revolution”, 1928; 2nd ed., 1948). A special foundation, set up on the 20th anniversary of his death, published a collection of materials on his life and work, “Yevhen Konovalets ta yoho doba” (“Yevhen Konovalets and his era”, 1974), edited by Yuriy Boyko and M. Borys.

Stepan Bandera, b. 1 January, 1909 in Uhryniv staryy, Kalush county, Galicia, d. 15 October, 1959 in Munich. Revolutionary, politician, and ideologue of the Ukrainian nationalist movement. Born into a clerical family, Bandera took an active part in community affairs, joining the Plast Ukrainian youth association while in high school. As an agronomy student at the Lviv polytechnic institute, Bandera became a member of the Ukrainian military organization in 1927 and of the organization of Ukrainian nationalists (OUN) in 1929, in which he soon attained positions of authority. In 1931 he became chief of propaganda in the OUN national executive, in 1932-33 he was second-in-command, and in June 1933 he became head of the national executive in Galicia. During his tenure Bandera expanded the OUN ‘s network in western Ukraine, directing its struggle against both Poland and the soviet union (in 1933 Mykola Lemyk assassinated an official of the soviet consulate in Lviv). Putting a stop to expropriations, Bandera turned the OUN ‘s militancy against the polish officials who were directly responsible for anti-Ukrainian policies. He also devoted attention to organizing mass campaigns against Polish tobacco and liquor monopolies and against the denationalization of Ukrainian youth. Arrested in June 1934, Bandera was tried twice: at the Warsaw trial concerning the assassination of the minister of internal affairs, B. Pieracki, and at the Lviv trial of the OUN national executive. Bandera’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Released from prison after the fall of Poland in 1939, Bandera soon moved to the general government, where, after a falling out with the head of the OUN leadership, Andriy Melnyk, he headed an opposing faction. In 1940-41 the faction developed into a separate organization (popularly known as the banderites). On the eve of the German-Soviet war Bandera initiated the formation of the Ukrainian national committee in order to consolidate Ukrainian political forces. He cultivated German military circles favorable to Ukrainian independence, initiated the formation of a Ukrainian military legion (Legion of Ukrainian Nationalists), organized OUN expeditionary groups, and prepared the 30 June 1941 proclamation of Ukrainian statehood in Lviv. For his refusal to rescind the decree, Bandera was arrested and spent the period from July 1941 to September 1944 in German prisons and concentration camps. Elected a member of the OUN leadership in 1945 and head in 1947, Bandera held consistently to the principles of integral nationalism. In May 1953 he was elected leader of the sections of the OUN abroad. Following unsuccessful attempts in February 1954 to reconcile a dissenting faction, which later constituted itself as the OUN abroad, Bandera remained the leader until his death. He was killed by the Soviet agent B. Stashynskyy. At Stashynskyy’s trial in the federal republic of Germany (8-19 October, 1962), it was established that the assassination had been directed personally by the head of the KGB, A. Shelepin. In the memory of his followers Bandera became a symbol of the revolutionary struggle for a Ukrainian state. His legacy has grown substantially since Ukrainian independence, particularly in western Ukraine. In Lviv a major thoroughfare was renamed in his honor and a large monument to him is being planned. In 1990, a Bandera memorial museum was established in Volia Zaderevatska (Stryy district), where the Bandera family had lived in the 1930s. The film “Atentat” (“Assassin”), focusing on Bandera’s struggles, was made by Oles Yanchuk in 1995.

Roman Shukhevych (noms de guerre: Dzvin, Shchuka, Tur, Taras Chuprynka, R.Lozovskyy), b. 17 July, 1907 in Krakovets, Yavoriv county, Galicia, d. 5 March, 1950 in Bilohorshcha, near Lviv. Supreme commander of the Ukrainian insurgent army, head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists home leadership, chairman of the general secretariat of the Ukrainian supreme liberation council (UHVR), and its general secretary for military affairs. He joined the Ukrainian military organization in 1923 and the organization of Ukrainian nationalists (OUN) in 1929; he was active in their combat branches and known as Dzvin. In 1926 he took part in the political assassination of the Lviv school superintendent. In 1930-34 he headed the OUN combat branch in Galicia and Poland. After being arrested in connection with B. Pieracki’s assassination, he was held for six months in the Bereza Kartuzka concentration camp and sentenced in 1936 to four years’ imprisonment, which was reduced by an amnesty to two years’. During 1938-39 he was staff officer in the Carpathian Sich. In 1941 Shukhevych was briefly a chief of the OUN (Bandera faction) in Ukrainian territories within the general government. He joined the Nachtigall battalion in April 1941 and became its top OUN liaison and political officer. When the Nachtigall and Roland battalions were merged in October 1941 to form Schutzmannschaftbataillon 201, Shukhevych was appointed deputy battalion commander and commander of its first company with the rank of captain. The battalion was disarmed and demobilized, and its officers were arrested in January 1943. Shukhevych, however, managed to escape and join the UPA. At the third OUN congress on 25 August, he was confirmed as head of the OUN home leadership, and in November he was appointed supreme commander of the UPA in the rank of lieutenant colonel. The UHVR elected him on 15 July, 1944 to head its general secretariat and to hold the portfolio of military affairs, and confirmed his appointment to the top post in the UPA. In 1946 he was promoted to brigadier general. Shukhevych died in combat with special units of the MVD. Posthumously, he was awarded the UPA’s highest decorations: the gold cross of combat merit first class and the cross of merit in gold.

Vasyl Kuk (pseuds: Yuriy Lemish, Vasyl Koval), b. 11 January, 1913 in Krasne, Zolochiv county, Galicia. Political and military leader. A law student at the catholic university of Lublin, he joined the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and in 1937, when the polish police began to hunt for him, he went underground. in 1941 he was promoted to the OUN leadership. In 1942-43 Kuk headed the OUN-organized anti-Nazi underground in the Dnipropetrovsk region, which encompassed the southern part of the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. After the war he was a member of the OUN leadership in Ukraine. When Roman Shukhevych was killed in 1950, Kuk (as Yuriy Lemish) assumed his positions as leader of the OUN in Ukraine and (as Vasyl Koval) commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Kuk was captured by soviet forces in 1954 and then kept in the isolation cells of KGB prisons in Kyiv and Moscow while he was interrogated. In 1960 he was amnestied and allowed to live in Kyiv. He obtained a philosophy degree from Kyiv University and then worked at institute of history of the academy of sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (although later he was dismissed as an undesirable). In the 1990s he became active in UPA veteran affairs.

Vasyl Sydor (pseuds: Shelest, Vyshyty, Konrad, Zov), b. 24 February, 1910 in Spasiv, Sokal county, Galicia, d. 17 April, 1949 in Perehinske district, Ivano-Frankivsk oblast. Senior officer in the UPA. In February 1935 he was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for his OUN activities. After he was paroled in 1936, he became a member of the OUN home leadership and organized the OUN network in Volhyn and the Kholm regions. He was imprisoned again in august 1937 and was elected spokesman of Ukrainian political prisoners in the Brygidky prison in Lviv. During the 1939-41 Soviet occupation of Galicia he was in charge of military affairs in the OUN home leadership. A member of the OUN supreme military staff in 1941, he served in the Legion of Ukrainian Nationalists (1941-43) until his arrest by the Gestapo on 8 January 1943. After his release he joined UPA in Volhyn and became its second chief of staff. In 1943 he was elected to the OUN supreme council by the OUN third extraordinary grand assembly and in January 1944, with the rank of major, assumed command of the UPA-west. He was promoted to colonel (1946) and OUN general judge (1947) and appointed OUN chief for the Carpathian Mountains region. He was killed in combat with Soviet troops in the Limnytsia river valley.

Klym Savur (nom de guerre of Dmytro Kliachkivskyy), b. 1914 in Galicia, d. 12 February, 1945 in Klevan district, Rivne oblast. Senior Ukrainian Insurgent Army commander and OUN leader. After being arrested by the NKVD in 1941 for OUN activities, he was saved from execution by the outbreak of the Nazi-Soviet war. In early 1942 he was leader of the OUN (Bandera faction) in the north-western region (Volhyn and Polissya), and in the autumn he organized combat units to fight the Germans. As the OUN combat units coalesced into the UPA in 1943, he became its commander in chief. After the reorganization and consolidation of the UPA, the Ukrainian people’s self-defense, and other insurgent units at the end of 1943, he became, at the rank of major, commander of the UPA-north. He was killed in action by NKVD troops and promoted posthumously to colonel.