Warsaw, Treaty of

Warsaw, Treaty of. An agreement between the Polish government and the government of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR), signed in Warsaw on 21 April 1920. The pact centered on the promise of Polish military assistance to the UNR in exchange for a recognition of Poland's claims to the Western Ukrainian lands. It was signed under desperate circumstances by the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic and caused a major falling out between Galician Ukrainians and the UNR.

Despite a formal merger of the Ukrainian National Republic and the Western Ukrainian National Republic (ZUNR) in January 1919, the two republics held differing opinions regarding Poland. For the leaders of the ZUNR Poland remained the foremost enemy; the leaders of the UNR perceived their main threat to be Russia. In January 1919 the first mission of the UNR (Viacheslav Prokopovych) arrived in Warsaw to test the possibility of an anti-Bolshevik agreement. The issue became particularly pertinent after the Red Army seized Kyiv on 5 February 1919; UNR troops were driven back to Volhynia and Podilia, and the Ukrainian-Soviet War increased in intensity (see Ukrainian-Soviet War, 1917–21).

On 25 May B. Kurdynovsky, a representative of the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic, and Prime Minister Ignacy Paderewski signed an agreement which foresaw the recognition by Poland of an independent Ukraine; military assistance was promised by Poland in exchange for a renunciation by the Ukrainian National Republic of all claims to eastern Galicia and a portion of Volhynia west of the Styr River. As a result of the intensification of combat in eastern Galicia in conjunction with the Ukrainian-Polish War the convention was never realized (see Ukrainian-Polish War in Galicia, 1918–19).

Subsequent negotiations with Poland were tempered by the UNR's changing military fortunes and its relations with the Western Ukrainian National Republic and the Ukrainian Galician Army (UHA). On 7 June 1919 a delegation of the Polish Supreme Command and a military delegation of the UNR commenced negotiations in Lviv concerning an armistice. The command of the UHA did not feel obliged to observe those negotiations, and at the same time it launched a counterattack on the Galician front (the Chortkiv offensive). The campaign faltered, however, and by July the Poles had forced the UHA and the ZUNR out of Galicia. The UHA forces then joined the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic in a successful campaign that had taken Kyiv by the end of August. The UNR's military fortunes then declined drastically. On 1 September an armistice was signed between the Polish command and that of the UNR. On 21 October the UNR concluded a secret agreement with the Poles which made it possible for its troops to cross into the territory occupied by Polish divisions in order to regroup and receive additional arms. By late 1919 the Ukrainian forces were no longer capable of continuing the war. On 5 December Symon Petliura left for Warsaw, where he hoped to obtain support for a renewed campaign from Poland and possibly, through Poland, the Entente powers. He met in the Polish capital with a UNR diplomatic mission led by the UNR's deputy prime minister, Andrii Livytsky, which had arrived earlier in October.

The Livytsky mission had already issued a declaration, on 2 December, regarding the principles of a political and military convention with Poland, which noted, among other items, the willingness of the Ukrainian National Republic to renounce its claims to the territories west of the Zbruch River. The declaration, which foreshadowed the agreement of 21 April 1920, met with sharp protests from the Galician members of the mission. It was also criticized harshly by a gathering of Galician Ukrainian politicians in Vienna on 9 December 1919.

The next stage of the Polish-Ukrainian talks began in January 1920. The Poles exerted great pressure on the Ukrainian delegation and played on the military and political weakness of the UNR government. They also made it difficult for the ministers of the UNR government to maintain contacts with members of the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic who were in Poland. On 22 January Symon Petliura and Andrii Livytsky presented Józef Piłsudski with a list of complaints concerning the conduct of the Polish authorities.

The final edition of the text of the treaty was drafted in April. The main points of the agreement, signed by Livytsky and J. Dąbski, resolved that (1) Poland would recognize the independence of Ukraine and the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic under Symon Petliura's leadership as its legitimate government; (2) the Polish-Ukrainian frontier would run along the Zbruch River, following the former Austrian-Russian frontier, across the Kremenets Mountains, along the eastern boundary of Rivne county, and then along the Prypiat River; (3) both governments would not enter into any conventions with third parties contrary to the treaty; (4) the Polish and Ukrainian minorities in both countries would be granted reciprocal national and cultural rights; and (5) the land question in Ukraine would be resolved by a constituent assembly, and in the interim the interests of Polish landowners in Ukraine would be dealt with through separate accords. The treaty also noted that a military convention was to follow, and that it was to be regarded as an integral part of the agreement. On 24 April a military convention concluded that the Ukrainian and Polish armies would act as allies, but under Polish command; the Ukrainian side would organize its own administration in the liberated territories; Poland would equip three Ukrainian divisions, for which it would later be reimbursed; Ukraine would supply food for the armies operating in Ukraine; and Polish evacuation from Ukraine would begin at the request of one of the sides of the treaty.

The Treaty of Warsaw brought protests from the Galician leaders as well as from leading Ukrainian political authorities (Mykhailo Hrushevsky, Volodymyr Vynnychenko). The Ukrainian National Republic government of Isaak Mazepa resigned in protest, and was replaced by the cabinet of Viacheslav Prokopovych in May 1920. Four days after the signing of the Treaty of Warsaw (25 April 1920) Polish and Ukrainian troops (two divisions) began marching on Kyiv.

Shelukhyn, S. Varshavs’kyi dohovir mizh poliakamy i S. Petliuroiu 21 kvitnia 1920 roku (Prague 1926; repr, London 1966)
Knysh, Z. Varshavs’kyi dohovir v svitli natsionalistychnoï krytyky (Winnipeg 1950)
Hunczak, T. Ukraine and Poland in Documents, 1918–1922, 2 vols (New York 1983)
Palij, M. The Ukrainian-Polish Defensive Alliance, 1919–1921: An Aspect of the Ukrainian Revolution (Edmonton–Toronto 1995)

Andrzej Chojnowski

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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