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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland stands in solidarity with Ukraine amid war, envoy tells US Helsinki Commission

26.05.2022 12:00
Poland firmly stands in solidarity with Ukraine amid Moscow's invasion, helping the Ukrainian people defend their freedom, arming those who are fighting Russian forces and taking care of their families, the Polish ambassador to Washington has said.
Audio
Marek Magierowski
Marek MagierowskiPAP/Mateusz Marek

"Solidarity, as a geopolitical concept, is one of the crucial pillars of Poland’s foreign policy," Marek Magierowski told the US Congress's Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), also known as the US Helsinki Commission.

"It is our pride but also our obligation," Magierowski said during a hearing on Wednesday focusing on support for Ukrainian war refugees.

He told the US Helsinki Commission that "since the beginning of the war 60 to 75 percent of Polish citizens have been involved in helping Ukrainian refugees, offering accommodation, establishing reception centers, running charities, donating or raising funds."

"We are helping the Ukrainians defend their freedom, arming those who are fighting the Russian aggressor and taking care of their families," Magierowski said.

"We need this common effort to prevent the annihilation of the brave Ukrainian people," he added.

Magierowski warned during the hearing that Poland and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe "are facing an unprecedented humanitarian challenge" as a consequence of "Russia's barbaric aggression against Ukraine."

He also told the Commission that the Kremlin’s "thinly veiled intent to erase the Ukrainian national identity, culture and language is utterly abhorrent."

He added: "The Russian leaders’ genocidal proclivities should be condemned in the strongest possible terms."

More than 6 million Ukrainians have had to flee their country due to Russia’s brutal war of aggression, the US Helsinki Commission said in a statement about the hearing.

"Most have entered bordering EU states, with more than half of those going to Poland," it added.

"Poland and other frontline countries acted swiftly not only by opening their borders to Ukrainians, but also by enacting policies and legislation to provide them with temporary status, housing, job training, healthcare, and access to education," the Commission said in its statement.

"As Russia’s bloody assault on Ukraine enters its third month, there is no end in sight to what has become the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II," the statement added.

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe is a congressional body composed of politicians from both houses of the US legislature. It deals with issues such as human rights, democracy and other topics related to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Poland has taken in more than 3.61 million refugees fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Polish Border Guard agency reported on Thursday.

Poland in March enacted a measure to offer wide-ranging support to Ukrainians escaping the Russian invasion of their country, which began on February 24.

The measure grants them residence rights and ensures access to educationhealthcare and social benefits.

Nine in 10 Poles are in favour of accepting refugees from war-torn Ukraine, according to a survey.

(gs)

Source: PAP, csce.gov

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Michał Owczarek.