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UPDATE: Polish president in Kyiv pledges more aid to Ukraine

23.08.2022 20:45
Poland's President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday pledged more economic and military aid to Ukraine on a visit to Kyiv, news agencies reported, as Moscow's invasion of Ukraine neared its six-month mark.
Polands President Andrzej Duda and Ukraines Volodymyr Zelensky meet in Kyiv on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda and Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky meet in Kyiv on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.Photo: EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

Speaking to reporters during a trip to the Ukrainian capital after talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Duda said that Poland would continue to provide political, economic, humanitarian and military assistance to its war-torn neighbour, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

He said he was honoured to be visiting Kyiv on Ukrainian Flag Day and on the eve of the country's Independence Day, and conveyed "cordial greetings to the Ukrainian people," including "wishes of victory" over Russia.

"I would like to assure you that the Polish people are with you and wish for you to win this war," Duda said.

"President Zelensky and I discussed the areas in which Poland supports Ukraine, including military and humanitarian assistance as well as our participation in the reconstruction of Ukraine," Duda told reporters.

"Ukraine can count on Poland," he declared at a joint conference with Zelensky.

He added: "I believe that Ukraine will not only defend itself, but also win, regain all of its land, and rebuild its infrastructure thanks to support from Poland and other honest nations. I believe the attackers will be repelled."

Duda also said that Ukraine was "defending justice, honesty, democracy and international law ... against Russia's onslaught."

"Today you are defending freedom not only in Ukraine, but also in many other countries," he added.

He voiced his "great respect for the Ukrainian people" and "their extraordinary heroism," saying that Warsaw was unwavering in its support of Kyiv and that "the Polish people stand with the people of Ukraine and will support them until the last day of the war."

Zelensky told reporters that his talks with Duda on military, economic, humanitarian and political support for Ukraine were "very productive."

"We reviewed a whole gamut of issues," Zelensky said. "Of course, we discussed defence and support for Ukrainians in Poland."

"I am very grateful to you, as well as to the government, the first lady, and Poland as a whole for helping Ukraine in such a warm way," Zelensky said, addressing Duda.

He emphasized that Duda was visiting Kyiv on Ukraine's National Flag Day and on the eve of the country's Independence Day, the PAP news agency reported.

"It is very important that we are friends, and friends want to be together on such a symbolic day," Zelensky said, as quoted by the Polish state news agency.

'Crimea is Ukraine'

While in the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday, Duda took part in the Second Summit of the Crimea Platform initiative to discuss international support for Ukraine.

Addressing the mostly online gathering, the Polish president declared that "Crimea is Ukraine,” the PAP news agency reported.

"Many of us have to conduct an examination of conscience as to what has happened in the last year,” Duda told the summit, as quoted by his office in English.

He added: "Did the de facto consent by many countries to the occupation of Crimea not send the wrong signal to Russia?”

No return to 'business as usual' with Russia

The president also said that "there cannot be a return to business as usual” with Russia after its aggression in Ukraine, according to the president.pl website.

Ukraine "must return to the situation it had before the Russian invasion” and "all areas that were occupied by Russia must be liberated,” he was quoted as saying.

Duda also said in Kyiv on Tuesday that "Poland is a supporter and ally of Ukraine, and a home to all Ukrainian families and children wishing to seek shelter,” according to his office.

The Polish president last August attended the first Crimea Platform summit in Kyiv. He said at the time that Poland "will not be indifferent to Russian attempts to harm Ukraine's territorial integrity and to human tragedy unfolding in the Crimean Peninsula."

Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and then fomented a separatist conflict in that country's eastern Donbas region.

Wednesday will mark 31 years since Ukraine regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and also exactly six months since Russia invaded the country on February 24, 2022.

Duda has met with Zelensky five times this year, including on three visits he has made to Ukraine since the start of the invasion, the PAP news agency reported.

The two previously met in Kyiv in May, April and February, and they also held bilateral talks when Zelensky visited Poland in January.


Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info, president.pl

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Elżbieta Krajewska.