Poland’s President in Ukraine’s Parliament: ‘Thank You for Rescuing Europe from Russia’
In another first by Poland, the President of Ukraine’s neighbor to the West became the first head of state to address the war-torn Ukrainian nation from the halls of its Verkhovna Rada and express all Europeans’ gratitude for rescuing the continent from Russian barbarity and imperialism.
Polish President Andrzej Duda, speaking today from the Ukrainian parliament during a surprise visit to Kyiv, paid tribute to the Ukrainian nation for remaining strong and defiant in the face of Russia’s invasion that began on February 24.
“Despite the great destruction, despite the terrible crimes, the great suffering that the Ukrainian nation experiences every day, the Russian invaders did not break you, they did not manage to do it and I believe deeply that they will never succeed,” Duda said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the speech by the Polish president a “historic moment.”
Poland and Ukraine’s “strong” relations had been “built through blood, through Russian aggression,” Zelenskyy said.
“No one can shake our unity,” Duda told the Ukrainian lawmakers, pointing out that your people are not refugees in Poland, but our guests.
Duda last visited Kyiv on April 13 for talks with Zelenskyy as part of a delegation with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
While he was addressing the parliament today, Russian missiles were reported heading into the Kyiv region airspace. Ukrainian defense forces apparently destroyed at least one of them, though one appears to have hit a target in the Zhytomyr region, to the west of Kyiv.
Duda’s speech in Kyiv was a second major first for his nation after being the first country to recognize Ukrainian independence in December 1991. Both countries have been developing strong multi-lateral relations, fully cognizant of the admonition that if one of them loses its independence then Russia will destroy the remaining country’s freedom.
The two countries’ symbol of multi-lateral military cooperation is the Lublin Triangle, which also included Lithuania. I have written that it resembles an updated Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations. This coalition should be expanded and formalized by all former captive nations of Russian subjugation.
With an eye to defense and security, the three countries created this special brigade that would defend their independence and interests from any belligerent action by Russia meant to reestablish its domination of Ukraine, the Baltic States, and the remainder of Eastern Europe. Three x-captive nations transformed their worthy idea into practice by mobilizing the “Hetman Konstantyn Ostrohskiy” Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown that this is not as farfetched a notion as some may have claimed.
In his speech in the Verkhovna Rada, which was greeted with standing ovations, Duda urged Ukraine not to give in to the “demands” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Worrying voices have appeared, saying that Ukraine should give in to Putin’s demands,” Duda said. “Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future… nothing about you without you,” echoing the words of former President Viktor Poroshenko.
Duda added that surrendering any Ukrainian territory would be a blow to the entire West and repeated Poland’s firm support for Ukraine’s membership in the European Union. The Polish president said that the international community must demand that Russia completely withdraw from Ukrainian territory.
“I will not rest until Ukraine becomes a member of the European Union,” Duda said.
Duda’s personal and national demonstration of support for embattled Ukraine must be replicated by all freedom-loving countries’ leaders. For example, what if all of them visited Kyiv at the same time and spoke from the Verkhovna Rada, expressing their admiration for Ukrainians’ determination in the face of Russian murders and demanding Moscow’s unconditional surrender and withdrawal from Ukraine.