English Section

Polish president denounces ‘act of terror’ as Russians bomb Kyiv

25.02.2022 10:50
Poland’s president on Friday said the Russian army had begun bombing the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, calling the air strike “an act of terror.”
Polands President Andrzej Duda.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda.PAP/Leszek Szymański

Andrzej Duda shared the news on Twitter after speaking to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, the state PAP news agency reported.

The Polish president wrote that the situation in Kyiv was “very difficult” after the Russians on Friday morning began shelling the city, with drones dropping bombs on residential buildings.

“People are dying,” Duda tweeted, adding: “It’s an obvious act of terror designed to break morale, but there is enormous determination to defend the capital.” 

The Russian army on Friday launched rocket fire on Kyiv as tanks rolled towards the Ukrainian capital, PAP reported.

The city responded with counter-air defence, while the Ukrainian troops stopped the Russian forces in the town of Ivankiv, halfway between Kyiv and the Belarusian border. 

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Zelensky wrote on Twitter: “We need effective international assistance,” adding he had discussed the issue with the Polish president.

The Ukrainian leader also said: “Appealed to the Bucharest Nine for defense aid, sanctions, pressure on the aggressor. Together we have to put Russia at the negotiating table. We need anti-war coalition.”

The Bucharest Nine group brings together nine NATO countries from Central and Eastern Europe: Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The group was set up in 2015 as an initiative by Poland and Romania.

Polish leaders discuss Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO to hold summit

The Polish president convened a meeting with senior Cabinet members, top security officials and military leaders before noon on Friday to discuss the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported. 

The Ukrainian flag was flying in front of the Polish president's National Security Bureau (BBN) alongside the flags of Poland, the EU and NATO, it said.

Late on Thursday, Poland's Duda spoke to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg about what action should be taken in response to the Russian aggression, officials told reporters.

The Western military alliance was due to hold an emergency virtual summit on Friday afternoon.

The Polish president is hoping that decisions will be taken at the summit “to launch NATO procedures” and “send a joint, firm political statement to the Russians,” said Paweł Soloch, Duda’s national security aide. 

In the meantime, Duda was set to host an emergency meeting of the leaders of the Bucharest Nine in Warsaw, news agencies reported.     

On Thursday, NATO triggered Article 4 of the Washington Treaty in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Article 4 provides that “the Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.”

NATO's Stoltenberg on Thursday condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine, calling it “a brutal act of war.”

The ambassadors of NATO member countries agreed to activate the alliance’s defence plans and further reinforce its eastern flank, PAP reported. 

Meanwhile, Poland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Krzysztof Szczerski, on Friday said that the UN Security Council would vote on a resolution condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine later in the day.

Szczerski told Polish Radio that given the likely Russian veto, the declaration would have to be adopted by the UN General Assembly. 

Polish charities raise funds for Ukraine

Poland’s biggest charities have begun collecting money for war-affected Ukrainians, seeking to reach those in most need, according to IAR.

The HumanDoc foundation is raising money to evacuate families of the aid workers who are helping civilians in the south-eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, after heavy Russian bombardment on Thursday.  

“To be able to help effectively, the aid workers must be certain that their own families, their loved ones, are safe,” HumanDoc’s Stanisław Brudnych said. 

Other Polish organisations are focusing on providing food and hygiene supplies to those in most need. The charities collecting funds for Ukraine include the Polish Centre for International Aid (PCPM), the Polish Medical Mission (PMM) and the Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH), IAR reported.

Sanctions will hit Russia’s banking sector: EU’s von der Leyen

The president of the European Commission on Friday announced that the new package of sanctions against Russia, agreed at the European Union summit on Thursday, would affect 70 percent of the Russian banking sector.

Ursula von der Leyen added that Russia’s key businesses, including defence companies, would also be hit by the sanctions, which are set to take effect later on Friday.  

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Russia announced a "special military operation" against Ukraine to eliminate what President Vladimir Putin said was a "serious threat" against his country.

Despite appeals and warnings from the international community, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War II, the Reuters news agency reported.

Top Polish officials have condemned Russia's attack on Ukraine and vowed to support the Ukrainian people.


Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters