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Polish, Ukrainian presidents address public outside Warsaw's Royal Castle

05.04.2023 23:45
Polish President Andrzej Duda and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky gave speeches to the public outside the Royal Castle in Warsaw on Wednesday, vowing that their countries would continue to “stand side by side” against Russian aggression.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Warsaw
Polish President Andrzej Duda delivers a speech in the courtyard of Warsaws Royal Castle, during a state visit by Ukraines President Volodymyr Zelensky, on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.
Polish President Andrzej Duda delivers a speech in the courtyard of Warsaw's Royal Castle, during a state visit by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, on Wednesday, April 5, 2023. KPRP/Marek Borawski

The event took place in the courtyard of the historic castle in the Polish capital on Wednesday evening, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

It was the final part of Zelensky’s one-day state visit to Poland, according to officials. 

In attendance were Poland’s First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda and Ukraine’s Olena Zelenska as well as Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, top lawmakers and senior government officials.

Taking the floor first, the Polish president said to his guest: “Dear Volodymyr. Today you are welcomed by the entire Poland. You are welcomed by Polish people. You are welcomed by Ukrainians, your compatriots, who are our guests. We rejoice at having you with us.”

Duda added: “You are the hero of the free world, but for us, you are above all a great friend of Poland. And so on behalf of the Republic of Poland, on behalf of Polish men and women, thank you.”

Addressing the Ukrainian people, the Polish president said: “You are fighting not just for your independence, but also for the security of the whole of Europe.” 

He added: “We, Polish people, well remember what it means to fight ‘for our freedom and yours.’ On many occasions in our history, we have shed our blood in defence of other countries. That’s why we appreciate your courage and bravery so much.”

Duda continued: “Poland was and remains one of the leaders of support to Ukraine. We know perfectly well that those who are defending their homes, those who are defending their homeland, those who are defending their towns and villages, those who are defending their citizens, need help immediately. And there is no time to wait.”

He stated: “And so we are seeking to give fighting Ukraine everything it needs, as fast as possible, from tanks to armoured personnel carriers and gun howitzers, and in recent days, aircraft, too.” 

The Polish president told the public that “Poland is setting an example for other countries, repeatedly overcoming their stubbornness and resistance when it comes to arms deliveries.” 

Duda called for continued support to Ukraine as it battles the Russian invasion. 

He said: “We must stand with Ukraine. We must keep supporting Ukraine in the military, economic and humanitarian sense. We must be consistent in this. We must not have any doubts. We owe it to the victims of this barbaric aggression!” 

The Polish president praised his compatriots for helping Ukraine and its people, including refugees, in the face of Russia’s brutal assault. 

He said: “We have given a helping hand to our brothers in need. At the darkest hour, Polish people have opened their hearts and rushed to help, welcoming their neighbours fleeing war, helping with transport, raising funds, organising charity drives, donating supplies and transferring them to Ukraine.”

Duda stressed: “We have shown that Solidarity is not just magnificent history, that Solidarity lives on inside us. Today, we are equally proud of the second big wave of Solidarity. Solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian nation!

The Polish president said that “Poles and Ukrainians have great history, great culture, but also a great, marvellous future.”

“And that’s why we are not afraid to discuss even the most difficult topics in our shared history,” he added.

“Long live independent Ukraine! Long live free Poland,” Duda stated. 

I speak to you with words of gratitude and strength’: Zelensky

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Zelensky told the gathering in Warsaw: “It is an honour for me to be here. I speak to you with words of gratitude and strength. Gratitude, because there are no such moments anymore when we would be divided, when we would not be united.”

He added: “Ukrainian and Polish hearts are fighting for one freedom, for the mutual independence of our states, for our native Europe - our common home, and we will be victorious!”

Zelensky stressed: “Every successful battle of Ukrainian heroes for our independent state adds protection to Polish independence. Polish Krab gun howitzers and Piorun air-defence systems, in the hands of Ukrainians, who return freedom to our people, reinforce your freedom as well.”

'Russia cannot win in Europe'

He added, to thunderous applause from the audience: “And I am grateful for this brotherhood to every Pole! I bow to you, Poland! Applause for you, Polish people!”

Ukraine’s president also said: “Russia cannot win in Europe when a Ukrainian and a Pole stand side by side.”

He vowed: “Free Poland has risen and will never fall. Free Ukraine has risen and will never fall.”

Zelensky expressed his gratitude “to the people of Poland who know what our freedom means to your freedom.”

He thanked people from cities across Poland for welcoming his compatriots fleeing the Russian invasion.

He said: “Dear Rzeszów! I thank you for becoming the first rescuer city for Ukraine! Przemyśl! Lublin! Chełm! Thank you! For reaching out to our people at a time when it was most needed! Gdańsk and Wrocław! Katowice and Białystok! Kraków and Warsaw! Every city in Poland that has become so hospitable to our people! I thank you!”

Zelensky praises Poland’s leadership in sending tanks to Ukraine

Zelensky also urged Poland to persuade other countries to provide modern fighter jets to help his country fight the Russian invasion.

He said: “Take action in the same way as your leadership manifested itself in the tank coalition, I believe that it will also manifest itself in the aviation coalition.”

Slava Ukraini. Glory to Poland,” Zelensky concluded his speech, before shaking hands with Poland’s president and first lady, and later also with members of the audience, the PAP news agency reported. 

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


Source: PAP, prezydent.pl, president.gov.ua