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UPDATE: Polish president urges NATO, EU to give security guarantees to Ukraine

18.05.2023 13:30
Poland’s president has urged NATO and the European Union to admit Ukraine into their fold as soon as possible, saying that in the meantime the West “should be ready to provide Ukraine with provisional security guarantees“ amid Russia’s continuing invasion.
Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks at the Strategic Ark 2023 international security conference in Warsaw on Thursday, May 18, 2023.
Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks at the Strategic Ark 2023 international security conference in Warsaw on Thursday, May 18, 2023. KPRP/Marek Borawski

Andrzej Duda made the appeal at an international security conference in Warsaw on Thursday, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported. 

The two-day event, called Strategy Ark 2023, has brought together top policymakers, military officials and experts from around the world to explore key threats and challenges to international security, according to officials.

The conference is organised by the state-run Polish Institute of International Affairs, the IAR news agency reported. 

‘The fate of the world is being decided in Ukraine’

In his opening speech to Strategic Ark 2023, the Polish president said it was crucial to consider ways in which the West could strengthen its unity and solidarity “to help Ukraine, to put pressure on Russia as a whole, and to confront other challenges.”

Duda said this should be done “by continuing the campaign of military, political and humanitarian support for Ukraine" and "by imposing further tough sanctions on Russia in the European Union and G7."

He added that priorities included "convincing the undecided, minimising dependence on Russian energy resources, and completely withdrawing capital and investment from Russia.”

The president also stressed the need to make “the entire international community aware that the fate of the world is being decided in Ukraine,” the IAR news agency reported.

He warned: “Russia's success would be an incentive for other countries to conduct aggressive policies. Hence the need to gain support for the defence of global peace. We must prove that aggression benefits no one.”

‘We should aim to secure Ukraine’s accession' to EU, NATO

Duda urged: “We need to create mechanisms that will provide long–term financial and defence backing for Ukraine. This will send a clear signal to the world that justice can prevail and that any attempt to undermine the international order is doomed from the start.”

The president went on to say: “We should aim to secure Ukraine's accession to the European Union and NATO. This would encourage Ukraine to carry out the necessary reforms, which are already under way in wartime conditions, and to modernise the country.”

Allies should 'provide Ukraine with provisional security guarantees’

Duda said he hoped “the upcoming NATO summit will take decisions that will bring Ukraine closer to membership of the alliance.”

He added that, in the meantime, Western allies "should be ready to provide Ukraine with provisional security guarantees.”

He told the conference: “A sense of security in Ukraine will determine the will of millions of Ukrainians to return to their country and rebuild it with success.”

The president cautioned: “We must also prepare ourselves for Russia's continued aggressive policy in the long term. That is why, in line with its new strategy, NATO must strengthen its defence and deterrence capabilities.”

He urged: “It is essential to increase the presence of allied forces on its eastern flank. This will send a clear signal of credibility to our societies and to a potential aggressor.”

'Poland will continue to support strong US leadership in Europe'

The president declared: “Poland will continue to support strong US leadership in Europe, bolstering NATO's eastern flank and territorial enlargement of the Alliance and the European Union. This is the only way to ensure that Russian imperial ambitions do not come true.”

"Russia must lose this war and understand that the united free world stands and will stand against it,” he concluded.

‘Joint fight against Russian imperialism’: Ukraine's Zelensky

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a video message to the Warsaw conference, voicing hope that NATO’s July summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, would see “decisions that will lead to allowing Ukraine to join the alliance," Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Zelensky vowed that Ukraine would not stop fighting Russian aggression "until victory is won."

He said: “Ukraine has no right to lay down its arms and will fight to the end.”

Zelensky added that “unless Russia withdraws from all territories of Ukraine and acknowledges its obligation to pay reparations, no real peace negotiations are possible.”

'Russia does not want peace, but time'

He cautioned against the Kremlin’s statements about “peace and diplomacy,” saying that “Russia does not want peace, but time” to regroup before launching further aggression. 

Zelensky also urged the West to provide more support, telling the Warsaw conference: "Ukraine needs a safe sky, combat airplanes and missiles.”

Addressing the Polish part of the audience, Ukraine’s president stated: “For our freedom and yours: this is a joint fight of Ukrainians and Poles against Russian imperialism.”

Thursday is day 449 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, prezydent.pl

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