Petro Dyachenko

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Petro Dyachenko
Петро́ Дяче́нко
Petro Diaczenko.jpg
Petro Dyachenko
Born January 30, 1895
Berezova Luka, Poltava Governorate, Russian Empire
Died April 23, 1965(1965-04-23) (aged 70)
Philadelphia, United States
Allegiance  Russian Empire
Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukrainian People's Republic
Poland Second Republic of Poland
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Imperial Russian Army
Ukrainian People's Army
Polish Army
Polissian Sich
Ukrainian National Army
Years of service 1914–1945
Rank Lieutenant-General (UNR)
Colonel (UNA)
Major (Polish Army)
Staff Captain (Russian Army)
Commands held 2nd Division UNA

World War I
Ukrainian War of Independence
Polish-Bolshevik War
World War II

Awards Iron Cross 2nd Class
Iron Cross of the First Winter Campaign (UNR)
Symon Petliura Cross (UNR)
Military Cross (UNR)
Medal of the Polish War of Independence 1918-1921
Order of St. Vladimir IV. Class with Swords and Bow
Order of St. Anne III. and IV. Class with Swords and Bow
Order of St. Stanislaus III. Class with Swords and Bow
Cross of St. George II.-IV. Class
Cross of St. George with Laurel Branch (1917)
Medal of St. George IV. Class

Petro Dyachenko (Ukrainian: Петро́ Дяче́нко, Polish: Petro Diaczenko, January 30, 1895 in Berezova Luka, Poltava Governorate, Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine) – April 23, 1965 in Philadelphia, United States) was a Ukrainian military commander who served as a staff captain in the Russian Army (World War I), colonel in the Ukrainian People's Army (1917–1921), major in the Polish Army (1928–1939), officer in the Volhynian Self-Defence Legion (aka 31. Schutzmannschaft-Bataillon des SD), commander of Panzerjagd-Brigade Vilna Ukraina (1945), and Colonel in the Ukrainian National Army (1945) and commander of the 2nd Division UNA.

During the First World War Dyachenko served with the Russian 333rd Infantry Regiment. He joined the Ukrainian National Republic in its struggle against both White and Red Russian forces. Since February 23, 1918 he was successively in command of the 2nd Zaporozhian Rifle Regiment and 1st Zaporozhian Rifle Division of the UNR army as a battalion commander. After the reorganization of the army on July 23, 1918, he took command of the Independent Zaporozhian Rifle Regiment (formed from his battalion). After the fall of Kiev to the Bolsheviks and collapse of the Ukrainian state, he was interned in Poland together with the remaining Ukrainian soldiers. On July 20, 1928 he joined the Polish Army. In 1928 he served as company commander in the 1st Polish Chevauleger Regiment.

On January 1, 1934 he became deputy commander of the 3rd Polish Mazovian Chevauleger Regiment. As a major he fought in the Polish Army in September 1939. After capitulation, as an officer of the Polish army, he was captured and sent to a German POW Camp.

On July 25 Dyachenko became member of the Ukrainian Central Committee (UCC) formed in Kraków on the German side. Dyachenko was in the staff of Polissian Sich (later joining the Ukrainian Insurgent Army) in 1941. In March 1944 he took part in organizing the 31st Schutzmannschafts Battalion (Ukrainian Legion of self-defense in Kholm), controlled by Nazi Germany. In August 1944 he became commander of the 31. Schutzmannschafts-Bataillon der SD. After the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, Dyachenko was ordered to organize a military unit out of the battalion and he participated in crushing of Polish resistance against Nazis.[1]

On January 30, 1945 he became commander of the 3rd U.V.V Regiment. In February 1945 he commanded the Panzerjagd-Brigade Freie Ukraine (Vilna Ukraina). In April 1945 he was commander of the 2nd UNA Division. In 1945, remnants of the Vilna Ukraina were attached to General Pavlo Shandruk's army, forming the Ukrainian National Army. On May 7, 1945 Dyachenko was promoted to the rank of general by Gen. Shandruk (2nd UNA).

For his actions during the Battle of Bautzen, Dyachenko was awarded with the Second Class Iron Cross in 1945.

In May 1945 he and the remnants of the 2nd UNA Division surrendered to the US forces in Austria. Later on, he lived in West Germany and the United States.

1914 - Private (Russian Imperial Army)
1916 - Ensign (Russian Imperial Army)
1917 - Second Lieutenant (Russian Imperial Army)
1917 - First Lieutenant (Russian Imperial Army)
1917 - Staff Captain (Russian Imperial Army)
1918 - Captain (Ukrainian People's Army)
1919 - Major (Ukrainian People's Army)
1920 - Colonel (Ukrainian People's Army)
1928 - Major (Polish Army)
1945 - Colonel (Ukrainian National Army)
1961 - Lieutenant-General (UNR) Seniority from 15.10.1929

In 2015 Dyachenko was commemorated by Ukrainian Parliament with special state celebrations in his memory, raising protests in Poland[2]


  1. ^ Powstanie Warszawskie: fakty i mity Kazimierz Krajewski, Tomasz Łabuszewski Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, 2006, page 120
  2. ^ Leszek Miller: nasilenie tendencji nacjonalistycznych na Ukrainie; konieczna reakcja parlamentu