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Hundreds Of Ukrainians March To Honor Controversial Nationalist Leader.

Hundreds of Ukrainians held a torchlight march in the capital, Kyiv, to mark the birthday of the controversial nationalist leader Stepan Bandera.

The January 1 march came amid a buildup of Russian forces near the border with Ukraine, which some believe could be a prelude to an invasion.

“Today, when there is a war with the occupier at the front, and the struggle against the ‘fifth column’ continues in the rear, we remember and honor the memory of Stepan Bandera,” Andriy Tarasenko, leader of the nationalist party Right Sector, said.

Bandera is revered as a hero by many Ukrainians for leading the political wing of the anti-Soviet independence movement, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). Its military wing -- the Ukrainian Insurgent Army -- waged partisan warfare during and after World War II.

But Bandera -- who was killed by a Soviet assassin in Munich in 1959 -- is regarded as a traitor by others for leading an insurgent war against Soviet forces and collaborating with Nazi Germany. His forces also fought against the Nazis at times during the war and are accused of carrying out murderous campaigns against Poles and Jews.

Similar marches also took place in several other cities, including Lviv, where about 500 people gathered at Bandera’s monument to honor him.

With reporting by AP

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