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Polish president reaffirms support for Ukraine in talks with Zelensky

05.04.2023 17:30
Polish President Andrzej Duda met with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Warsaw on Wednesday to discuss security issues, economic cooperation and historical matters, and vowed that his country would continue to support Ukraine and seek additional NATO security guarantees for Kyiv as it defends itself against Russian aggression. 
Polish President Andrzej Duda (right) and Ukraines Volodymyr Zelensky (left) hold a joint news conference after their talks at the presidential palace in Warsaw, on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.
Polish President Andrzej Duda (right) and Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky (left) hold a joint news conference after their talks at the presidential palace in Warsaw, on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.PAP/Marcin Obara

The two heads of state held their talks at the presidential palace in the Polish capital in the early afternoon, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Earlier, Duda decorated Zelensky with the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest state distinction.

Duda and Zelensky later briefed the media on their discussions during a joint news conference. 

'We have given Ukraine more than 300 tanks'

The Polish president said that “the main topic of the talks were security issues.“ 

He stated that “Poland is Ukraine’s third-biggest partner,” behind the United States and Britain, “when it comes to military support provided since the start of Russian aggression.” 

Duda said: “We have given Ukraine more than 300 tanks; we have given Ukraine the Krab gun howitzers; we are giving Ukraine a lot of other equipment, including the Piorun man-portable air-defence systems, and other equipment at our disposal, to help the defenders of Ukraine, who are heroically resisting the Russian invader.”

The Polish president stressed that Russian aggression “isn’t directed only against Ukraine, but also against the free world.”

He stated: “Russia is again seeking to widen its sphere of influence. Today Ukraine is the first country to have met these efforts with a tough, determined resistance. That’s why we are supporting Ukraine and we thank everyone who is supporting Ukraine. And I assured President Zelensky that we will continue to support Ukraine.”

‘We are trying to obtain additional security guarantees for Ukraine

Duda told reporters that Poland was supporting Ukraine’s efforts to join the NATO alliance in the future. 

He declared: "Today we are trying to obtain additional security guarantees for Ukraine at the next NATO summit in Vilnius [in July] ... guarantees that will strengthen Ukraine's military potential."

Historical issues, economic cooperation, support for Ukraine’s EU bid

Duda said his talks with Zelensky had also touched upon mutual relations between Poland and Ukraine.

He told reporters: “Together with President Zelensky, we realise that when thinking of the future, we must not forget about the past.”

The Polish president said he and Zelensky shared the view that “based on our past, including its thorny aspects … we’ll be able to forge a brotherhood between our nations for the future.”

Duda also told the news conference that he and Zelensky had discussed “historical issues that today very often remain as wounds in many families.” 

He said: “We’ll be pursuing a calm, consistent, good policy of building ties between our nations, one based ... honest, thorough remembrance.” 

The Polish president told reporters that “Poland is Ukraine’s biggest economic partner" and that he hoped "this will also be the case in the future."

Duda vowed that Poland would keep supporting, “with all its strength,” Ukraine’s bid for full membership of the European Union. 

Poland plans more military aid to Ukraine: Zelensky

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Zelensky told reporters that his country had been granted candidate status by the EU “thanks to many partners, but mainly thanks to Poland.”

“We are grateful for this support,” he said. 

Zelensky also said that the Polish president had been “uncompromising in supporting Ukraine on its path to the EU.”     

Zelensky revealed that he and Duda had discussed more “military assistance to the Ukrainian army.” He added that later in the day he would hold talks with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki about a new “powerful defence package” for his country’s armed forces.   

The Ukrainian president thanked Poland for this new planned assistance.

“Thank you for your support," he said. "If Ukraine falls, Russia will go further,” he warned. 

'A true friend for centuries'

Zelensky also thanked the Polish people “for the way you have welcomed and hosted Ukrainians, for the way you have been helping us, for the warmth, normal human warmth and embrace, with which you have been welcoming our people.“

“Ukraine will never forget it, ever,” he stressed.

Zelensky stated: “We regard Poland as not only our partner, but a true friend for centuries.”

Poland ‘a key partner’ in postwar reconstruction of Ukraine: Zelensky

He also said that Ukraine wanted Poland to become a key partner in the wide-ranging reconstruction effort in his country after the war with Russia ends, the Reuters news agency reported.

Zelensky said: “We would very much like Polish businesses to be among the leaders on our market, among other partners,” the PAP news agency reported. 

He invited Polish businesses to come to Ukraine before the war ends to secure a better position on Ukrainian markets, according to Reuters.

Zelensky’s trip to Warsaw on Wednesday marked his first official visit since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of his country in February last year, the PAP news agency reported.

The Polish and Ukrainian presidents previously held two working meetings in the southeastern Polish city of Rzeszów, in December 2022 and February 2023, according to officials.

Meanwhile, Poland’s Duda has made four trips to Ukraine since Russia invaded, the PAP news agency reported.

In April 2022, Duda and his Baltic counterparts visited Bucha and other towns near Kyiv that had been ravaged by the Russian army; in May 2022, the Polish president addressed the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv; in August 2022, he attended the Crimean Platform summit in the Ukrainian capital; and in January 2023 he made a trip to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv for a summit of the Lublin Triangle of Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania, according to PAP.    

Wednesday is day 406 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters, prezydent.pl