Other soldiers who served under Karkoc back up Sharko’s testimony about civilian killings: Vasyl Malazhenski, also a private, told Soviet investigators that in 1944 that unit was directed to “liquidate all the residents” of Chlaniow — although he did not say who gave the order.
Sharko also testified in the investigative documents that Karkoc’s company was directly involved in a “punitive mission” against Poles near the village of Sagryn in 1944.
“We were told that Poles had attacked the village of Sagryn and were killing Ukrainian families,” Sharko said. “And that’s why we had to defend the families of Ukrainians and take revenge against the Poles.”
Sharko made his statements to authorities in Ukraine in 1967 and 1968 for an investigation they were conducting against the Self Defense Legion. The documents noted he was living at the time in the village of Vorchin in Ukraine. Local official Oleksandr Petrovich said Sharko had been a resident, and died in the mid-1980s.
Many of Sharko’s statements are backed up by other evidence and historical fact, giving weight to the overall testimony, said University of Ottawa professor Ivan Katchanovski, a Ukrainian-born political scientist who has done extensive research on the Self Defense Legion.
“I analyzed several hundred such Soviet-era investigative cases for my academic research projects,” he said. “Based on this research and direct or indirect corroboration of information from the Sharko’s testimony by other sources — including the Karkoc memoirs, his testimony concerning the Legion, massacres that it committed, and the involvement of Michael Karkoc in the specific massacre — looks credible.”