“Zuzana” from Zuzana. Howitzers and other cooperation from Slovakia today and in the past

8 June, 12:16 PM
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Since the large-scale Russian invasion, more and more democratic leaders have been visiting Ukraine to show their solidarity with our people. Boris Johnson met Zelensky in Kyiv and walked around the city with him.

Later, Polish President Andrzej Duda addressed the Ukrainian Parliament.

The other day, the President of Slovakia Zuzana Caputova addressed the deputies and the entire Ukrainian people from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada. She thanked Ukrainians for defending not only their country but also international law, which has provided the world with decades of peace.

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The president said: “We know that the occupiers of your country will not be expelled with our packages of medicines and products. Your defenders need military equipment and gear. Therefore, we are helping and will continue to help in this direction.”

Slovakia has provided Ukraine with the S-300 complex, which can shoot down planes and missiles at a distance of 150-300 km, as well as demining equipment. Zuzana Caputova announced that her country will also provide 8 “Zuzana-2” self-propelled howitzers with a range of up to 41 km. Thank you Ms. Zuzana, for those Zuzanas and more.

Slovakia is one of the countries that has most persistently helped Ukraine. 78,000 Ukrainians take refuge there, 31,000 of whom are children. Slovakia has consistently supported Ukraine’s membership in the EU and the immediate granting of EU candidate status for us, and actively supports sanctions. Slovak police and forensic experts are involved in the investigation of Russian crimes in the Kyiv region.

For many Ukrainians, such active assistance from a neighboring country came as a surprise. Especially in comparison with the pro-Russian position of Hungary. History can again explain this. The Slovaks have helped Ukrainians because their past is very similar to ours – a stateless country attempts by aggressive neighbors to destroy the Slovak language and culture, to destroy the nation.

It was this historical, cultural and mental similarity between our peoples that the leaders of the Ukrainian liberation movement relied on. In 1945-46, they organized UPA propaganda raids into Slovak territory.

The command of the insurgent movement continued to fight the communist regime after the end of the Second World War. They continued to look for allies. These like-minded people were also among the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe who after 1945 found themselves behind the Iron Curtain of the “communist paradise.”

Ukrainians did not have sharp confrontations with the Slovaks, unlike their relations with Poles, Hungarians, and Romanians. In addition, until 1948, Czechoslovakia had a freer political life than its neighbors. There was a free press, there were political parties, alternatives to the communists – among them the Democratic Party which had the greatest support.

That is why the first foreign propaganda raids of the UPA took place on Slovak soil. They aimed to stir up anti-communist movements in Europe. There were plans to establish cooperation with Ukrainian soldiers.

On the night of 23 August 1945, about 500 UPA soldiers crossed the border, broke up into smaller groups, and began agitations in villages in eastern Slovakia. They held mass rallies, and meetings, spreading propaganda about the true face of the communists and calling for a struggle against them.

The leaflet entitled “Czechs! Slovaks! Soldiers!” said:

“When you stand on your border in the Carpathians, look from the mountains – how every night, hundreds of houses and whole villages burn in the space of 800 km, from the ridges of the Carpathians to the former Buh!

Watch how people are driven out into the cold and snow and killed, how old men, women and children flee through forests and ravines, in the snow and in the cold, worse than during the Tatar times!”

“We, Ukrainians, your closest neighbors and brothers with a common Slavic language and blood, appeal to you through the iron, impenetrable borders of the Soviet prison of nations.

“When you stand on your border in the Carpathians, look from the mountains – how every night, hundreds of houses and whole villages burn in the space of 800 km, from the ridges of the Carpathians to the former Buh!

Watch how people are driven out into the cold and snow and killed, how old men, women and children flee through forests and ravines, in the snow and in the cold, worse than during the Tatar times!”

“We, Ukrainians, your closest neighbors and brothers with a common Slavic language and blood, appeal to you through the iron, impenetrable borders of the Soviet prison of nations.

We appeal to you from our hard collective farm serfdom and underground slave labor in the mines, from the endless death camps and deportations to Siberia and along the northern Ocean, we appeal to you from our heroic ranks: join us in a common struggle against tyranny – for the freedom of peoples and men, for a new free organization of the Slavs, the fraternal family of peoples and the independence of our nations – for a new free world without slavery, terror and fear, without exploitation and poverty, without mutual differences and war.”

These words resonated with the local peasants. People warned the Ukrainian insurgents, so UPA soldiers managed to avoid clashes with the Czechoslovak army which was thrown against them. The success of the first raid prompted a repeat in the spring of 1946.

On the night of April 7, about a thousand insurgents crossed the border unnoticed, divided into three groups and set out on separate routes. During almost three weeks of the raid, UPA soldiers visited 106 Slovak villages.

Elections were to be held in Slovakia. The rebels campaigned to vote for the communists’ main rival, the Democratic Party. In the end, it won. This time there was fighting. More than 11,000 Czechoslovak soldiers, tanks and aircraft were thrown at the Ukrainians. But they could not thwart their mission – the insurgents completed their tasks and returned home.

The third raid was planned for 1947, but it did not take place. Because in the UPA-controlled territories, the Polish communist government launched the “Vistula” Operation – the forced eviction of all Ukrainians who lived there. Therefore, the insurgent units were tasked with breaking into the American zone of occupation of Germany to break the information blockade and tell the free world about the struggle of Ukrainians.

The road again passed through Slovak territories and locals provided assistance. Thanks to their support, at least some of the insurgents managed to break through the Iron Curtain.

After the UPA raids in Slovakia, the security forces recorded the greater activity of local anti-communist activity. But they remained too weak and sporadic to become a strong ally of the Ukrainians in the struggle against the USSR.

Many Slovaks did not understand that populist communist slogans covered up Russian imperialism. That the liberation of the country from the Nazis by the Red Army meant the establishment of another totalitarian regime. Awareness came after years of repression, including Russian tanks that suppressed their freedom in 1968.

Slovakia now understands the threat of Russian imperialism. That is why it helps us to restrain its advance westward. That is why today we will defeat the Russians by the joint efforts of all free peoples, including the Slovaks.

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