Badge of X-Captive Nations’ Courageous Support for Ukraine
The visit by prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic to Ukraine in the midst of the barbaric invasion of the country by Russia cannot by disparaged by the free world and the other former captive nations of Russian subjugation.
Traveling to Kyiv on Tuesday, March 15, to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal were Poland’s Mateusz Morawiecki and his deputy Jarosław Kaczyński, Slovenia’s Janez Janša and the Czech Republic’s Petr Fiala.
The purpose of the visit was “to confirm the unequivocal support of the entire European Union for the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and to present a broad package of support for the Ukrainian state and society,” a government spokesperson said.
Read those words again. They were expressed by high-ranking officials of the member-states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that officially shied away from such strong gestures because it feared a catastrophic response by Russian führer Vladimir Putin. The travelling officials put their lives in jeopardy but the meaning of their presence in Kyiv far outweighed the danger. They emphasized, like the former captive nations have been saying for the past three decades and even since the end of World War Two about the dangers of Russian aggression, that their public sign of unity is a major weapon against Moscow.
“At such breakthrough times for the world, it is our duty to be where history is forged; because it is not about us, but about the future of our children who deserve to live in a world free from tyranny,” Morawiecki said in a Facebook post.
The Polish official said he and the other leaders were going to Kyiv to “show Ukrainians our solidarity” and denounced “Putin’s criminal aggression against Ukraine.”
Their words and manifestation sent a resounding message to all countries around the world.
Morawiecki also observed that “It is here, in war-torn Kyiv, that history is being made. It is here, that freedom fights against the world of tyranny. It is here that the future of us all hangs in the balance.”
Indeed, for the former captive nations that know firsthand what Russian subjugation means, noting that the battle for freedom against tyranny begins in the Ukrainian capital reinforces the commonality of their ongoing cause even 30 years after the fall of the iron curtain.
Slovenia’s Jansa described the visit as a way to send a message that Ukraine is a European country that deserves to be accepted one day into the European Union. Two weeks earlier, Zelenskyy made an emotional appeal to the European Parliament on that very subject.
“We are fighting also to be equal members of Europe,” Zelenskyy told EU lawmakers on March 1. “I believe that today we are showing everybody that is what we are.”
Jansa said the war has awoken Europeans to idea that the bloc represents fundamental ideas that are under threat — and which Ukrainians are defending with their lives.
Also traveling with the three leaders was Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Poland’s de-facto leader whose presence carries a symbolic significance. He is the surviving twin of the late President Lech Kaczynski, who died in a plane crash on Russian soil in 2010 along with 95 other Polish officials, among them political and military leaders, as they traveled to pay tribute to the Poles executed by the Soviet secret police during World War II. Kaczynski has long suspected that Putin had a role in provoking the accident.
Ukraine’s Shmyhal praised the “courage of true friends” and said the leaders would discuss “support of Ukraine and strengthening sanctions against the Russian aggression,” on a Twitter post.
Fiala said the main purpose of the visit was to tell Ukraine it is not alone. “We know you’re fighting for your lives … but we also know you’re fighting for our lives, our freedom,” Fiala said. “Probably the main goal of our visit, the main message of our mission, is to say that you’re not alone. Our countries stand by you. Europe stands by you.”
“At a time when many ambassadors have left Ukraine in connection with the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation, these dignitaries, leaders of their beautiful independent European states, fear nothing, care for our fate more, and they are here to support us. This is a great courageous, correct and friendly step. And I am sure that with such friends, with such countries, with such neighbors and partners, we will really be able to win,” Zelenskyy told reporters after the meeting.
At this particular moment in history, this joint meeting is as strong as a Javelin missile. The three prime ministers showed exceptional leadership in a crisis that should be imitated by the other x-captive nations that weren’t present like Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. When the free world sees that the former jailers have arisen against their jailer, perhaps it will take seriously their campaign against Russian imperialism.
Regrettably, Vice-President Kamala Harris, who visited Poland last week and was within a car ride from the border with Ukraine, failed to demonstrate the same level of political solidarity with Ukraine and the quest of the former captive nations.