Andrzej Duda made the statement in Riga, Latvia, on Thursday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
The Polish president, who was making a three-day visit to the Baltic country, met with policy experts, journalists and NGO activists to discuss "the main security challenges of the present time."
Duda appeared at the conference alongside his Latvian counterpart Egils Levits.
'Aggression against our part of Europe'
Duda told the audience: “The Baltic states, who had similar experiences to Poland over the past century, had been warning the world that the fall of communism and the collapse of the Soviet Union doesn’t mean that traditional Russia, with its ‘Big Russian’ mentality, had disappeared and will never come back.”
He added that Russia’s “imperial complex” had resurfaced, “resulting in aggression against our part of Europe.”
Duda said: “Today, Russia’s leaders, headed by Vladimir Putin, are in fact seeking to restore the sphere of influence of the czarist empire. In my view this is their goal.”
The Polish president said that Russia’s assault on Ukraine proved that “all the talk about the end of history, about how peace would always reign in Europe, was an absolute pipe dream.”
Duda went on to say: “We are against war. We don’t want this war. And together with President Levits, we’ll do everything in our power to make sure that this war does not reach our countries. We’ll make every effort to ensure this.”
He said Poland had decided to increase its defence spending to 4 percent of GDP in 2023, “in line with the old saying that if you want peace, prepare for war … so that it doesn’t pay for anyone to attack you.”
New Iron Curtain?
The Polish president noted that, according to some Western commentators, the war in Ukraine was polarising the world and might result in the reinstatement of the Iron Curtain.
Duda said “Well, I am prepared for the Iron Curtain to be reintroduced. If I have to deal, beyond the eastern border, with an aggressive country that wants to kill its neighbours, grab their land and deprive them of freedom, then I’ll be ready to build an Iron Curtain that reaches into the clouds.”
According to the Polish president, Ukraine proved that “with extraordinary bravery, determination and military support from the West,” it is possible "to stand up to the Russian army," and "so if necessary, Poland can do the same," Duda said in Riga.
Thursday is day 344 of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Source: PAP, prezydent.pl, wgospodarce.pl