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UPDATE 3: Polish, Baltic presidents meet with Ukraine’s Zelensky in Kyiv

13.04.2022 22:15
The presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia met with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Wednesday to show their support to the war-torn country amid Russia's invasion.
Polands President Andrzej Duda (second from left), Lithuanias Gitanas Nausda (left), Latvias Egils Levits (second from right), and Estonias Alar Karis (right) meet with Ukraines  Volodymyr Zelensky (centre) in Kyiv on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda (second from left), Lithuania's Gitanas Nausėda (left), Latvia's Egils Levits (second from right), and Estonia's Alar Karis (right) meet with Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky (centre) in Kyiv on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.Photo: EPA/JAKUB SZYMCZUK

Poland's Andrzej Duda, Lithuania's Gitanas Nausėda, Latvia's Egils Levits and Estonia's Alar Karis held face-to-face talks with the Ukrainian leader after reaching Kyiv by train, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Duda’s office shared photos from the visit on Twitter.

At a joint news conference after the talks, the Polish president said his country and the Baltic states were Ukraine’s neighbours “not just literally, but in terms of a shared history and understanding of the situation.”

‘It’s not war, it’s terrorism’

Referring to Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine and reports of war crimes, Duda said: “It’s not war, it’s terrorism when you send soldiers to kill civilians.”

He added that “those responsible for crimes against the Ukrainian people must be punished by international tribunals.”

He also appealed for “sanctions that will exclude Russia” from the international community.

'Our sister country’

Calling Ukraine “our sister country,” Duda said Poland was doing “whatever is possible” to help its eastern neighbour.

“We are striving to support Ukrainians so that their country survives,” he added.

The Polish president said his country had welcomed more than 2.5 million refugees from Ukraine, "mostly women and children.”

Referring to the future, Duda stated: “Hopefully Ukraine will soon become a part of the European Union as a free and sovereign country that makes its own decisions.”

With such partners and friends, we are bound to win

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Zelensky said: “Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have always been the first to help Ukraine.”

He added: “I would like to thank the magnificent leaders of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, who always stand shoulder to shoulder with us and have done so from the beginning ... With such partners and friends, we are bound to win."

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who had greeted the four presidents at the Kyiv railway station, tweeted his thanks “for constant support and comprehensive assistance in countering Russian aggression.”

“We will win together,” he wrote.

In Borodyanka...

Before visiting Zelensky, Duda, Nausėda, Levits and Karis travelled to Borodyanka, a town near Kyiv that was ripped apart by Russian missiles, leaving countless civilians dead, according to media reports.

The Polish president’s foreign policy advisor, Jakub Kumoch, commented on Twitter: “The presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia saw the world that Russia is offering to its neighbouring nations. There are no words to describe it.”

...Irpin and Bucha

The Polish president and his Baltic counterparts also visited the towns of Irpin and Bucha near Kyiv, where horrific civilian killings have been uncovered amid the Russian invasion, according to officials.

The four presidents' trip to Ukraine on Wednesday marked the first visit by foreign heads of state since Russia invaded the country on February 24, the PAP news agency reported.

Several European politicians had previously travelled to Kyiv for in-person talks with Zelensky, including Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński last month.

After that meeting, Kaczyński proposed that NATO, possibly with other international organisations, send a peacekeeping and humanitarian mission to Ukraine. 

Last week, the Ukrainian president was visited by the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell; European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen; and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.  

Wednesday was day 49 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAPprezydent.pl