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Poland, Baltics must stick together as Russia wages war in Ukraine: Polish FM

31.01.2023 21:30
Poland’s foreign minister has said that his country and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia must work together in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 
Polands Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau (second from left), Lithuanias Gabrielius Landsbergis (left), Latvias Edgars Rinkvis (second from right), and Estonias Urmas Reinsalu (right) meet in Riga, Latvia, on Tuesday, January 31, 2023.
Poland's Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau (second from left), Lithuania's Gabrielius Landsbergis (left), Latvia’s Edgars Rinkēvičs (second from right), and Estonia’s Urmas Reinsalu (right) meet in Riga, Latvia, on Tuesday, January 31, 2023.Twitter/Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Zbigniew Rau made the statement after a meeting with his counterparts from the Baltic states in Riga, Latvia, on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

Rau, Lithuania’s Gabrielius Landsbergis, Latvia’s Edgars Rinkēvičs  and Estonia’s Urmas Reinsalu signed a joint declaration “on enhancing cooperation in the region,” officials said. 

Experience of 'oppression by revisionist totalitarian regimes’

The declaration stated that “Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland share a similar historical experience of aggression and severe oppression by revisionist totalitarian regimes during many decades of the 20th century.”

The four ministers added: “Due to our common past, we have developed a similar understanding of potential threats and the determination to strengthen our security and protect our independence and territorial integrity.”

'Ensuring deterrence and defence'

Rau, Landsbergis, Rinkēvičs and Reinsalu went on to say: “Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland share a close vision on the actions necessary to deter and defend against security threats in the region. Together we have elaborated initiatives aimed at fighting against hybrid threats, ensuring deterrence and defence, strengthening border security, as well as supporting Ukraine that have later been successfully implemented in various forms and frameworks including the European Union, NATO and the United Nations.”

Support for Ukraine

The Polish and Baltic foreign ministers stated: “We reiterate the high importance of continuing political, military, financial support and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Cooperation within NATO, with an irreplaceable role of the close transatlantic bond, is the cornerstone of our security.”

The four top diplomats also said that cooperation between the four countries “should be developed on a political and practical level to enhance our efforts to strengthen collective deterrence and resilience and promote economic growth and prosperity of the region and beyond.”

“We will continue and enhance our close coordination at the level of Foreign Ministers,” Poland’s Rau and his Baltic counterparts concluded.

Poland, Baltics join forces 'in the face of Russian threat': Polish FM

At a news conference afterwards, the Polish foreign minister said that “since February 24, 2022, the foreign policy of every European country has been overshadowed by Russia’s assault on Ukraine.”

Referring to the joint declaration, Rau told reporters that "in the face of the Russian threat," Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia must join forces "as they did in 2008," when the then Polish President Lech Kaczyński, the Baltic leaders and the Ukrainian president travelled together to Georgia, to protest against the Russian invasion, according to the PAP news agency. 

“As a result of this move, Russian soldiers and Russian tanks did not enter Tbilisi; they stopped 30 kilometres north of the city,” Rau said.  

Supporting Ukraine for ‘as long as it takes’

Rau added that Poland and the Baltic states had provided the biggest assistance to Ukraine "when measured per capita" and were determined “to support Ukraine as much as possible and as long as it takes.”

The Polish foreign minister added that Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were "speaking in one voice when it comes to strengthening the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Alliance and the imposition of restrictive measures on Russia by the European Union."

Tuesday is day 342 of Russia’s war against Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, gov.pl

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Agnieszka Bielawska.