In recent months, President Andrzej Duda has been focusing his talks and international meetings on security in the region, also in the context of the situation in Ukraine.
- We must show that we speak with one voice, that we are a community, that we cannot be broken. Our fundamental task is to find a solution so as to avoid war.
The Polish President dwelled on the need to support our Eastern neighbour at the Lublin Triangle Summit. The Presidents of Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania met there in Huta at the invitation of Volodymyr Zelensky.
- Today, the security of Ukraine and the region is a fundamental issue. Both Ukraine’s neighbours and NATO should show determination in strengthening Ukraine.
Andrzej Duda also met with the Ukrainian President a month later in Wisła. Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit was indicative of Poland's important role played in the security policy of our region. It also provided an opportunity to make arrangements as to further support for Ukraine.
- Ukraine can count on the support of our country. We refute the concept of spheres of influence. Poland is in favour of full Euro–Atlantic integration of Ukraine,” said the Polish President after the meeting.
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Ukraine and security in this part of Europe was the subject of Andrzej Duda's conversation with Joe Biden and the leaders of the B9: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia.
At that time, the Polish President was underscoring expectations he and his colleagues, the Presidents from the Central and Eastern European, had as to a clear position on strengthening NATO and increasing the presence on its eastern flank.
In the context of the strengthened Eastern policy, Andrzej Duda has engaged in support for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, and has also given very strong support to the Belarusian democratic forces led by Svitlana Tikhanouska. – It started with a message of solidarity to Belarusians at the end of August, which President Duda, as the first president in the history of Poland, delivered partly in the Belarusian language, and ended with many talks and a joint appearance of Andrzej Duda and Svitlana Tikhanouska at the Democracy Summit and a declaration of further support for Belarusian political refugees, – said Minister Jakub Kumoch who heads President’s International Policy Bureau.
The meeting, which was held by means of videoconference, was attended by leaders from more than 100 countries.
- During his speech, Andrzej Duda appealed for solidarity with Belarus. – Today it is one of the most important challenges of the democratic world – he noted.
As Lukashenko's hybrid attack was escalating, in consultation with the government, the President „took it upon himself to garner support for Polish actions”. – After the massive attack on the Polish border, he met, among others, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, soliciting the Secretary’s personal engagement in favour of the Baltic states, which are – according to the President – the Alliance’s most vulnerable countries in terms of Russian provocations. “It is very fortunate that an ad hoc visit of Jens Stoltenberg and Ursula von der Leyen to our Baltic partners took place shortly afterwards”, – as the presidential Minister observed.
Moreover, on the initiative of the U.S. President, a videoconference was held, attended by Andrzej Duda and Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, as well as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel.
Following the consultations, the President that „there is no indication that Poland is in any danger at the moment”. To share details of the conversation, the Polish President convened the National Security Council.
The Government and the President of Poland worked closely together to make the decision on the transfer of defensive munitions to the Ukrainian side.
The Polish President also held numerous telephone consultations: with French President Emmanuel Macron, and with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Both talks were largely centred on the security situation developing around Ukraine.
- Ukraine is our neighbour, so we view the situation there with great concern.
The President of the Republic of Poland stopped in Tbilisi on his way to Beijing to discuss the issue with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili. As he stressed at a joint press conference, Georgia is a country that has had „its own tragic experiences” with Russia, so President Zurabishvili's opinion is particularly valid. Andrzej Duda noted that the situation in Ukraine’s neighbourhood “emanates, bearing heavily on the entire world order”.
The aim of the Polish President's visit to Beijing was to cheer for the Polish athletes at the beginning of the Winter Olympic Games, but also to engage in the so–called 'Olympic diplomacy'.
The issue of security in the region, especially in the context of Ukraine, was raised by Andrzej Duda in his talks with: PRC President Xi Jinping, UN Secretary–General António Guterres, Presidents of Kazakhstan Kasym–Zomart Tokayev, Kyrgyzstan Sadir Dzhaparov and Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, as well as IOC President Thomas Bach.
During the discussion on global and regional issues, Andrzej Duda presented to Xi Jinping the Polish position on the security situation in Eastern Europe, expressing concern over the possibility of an armed conflict. The Polish President noted that potential Russian aggression against Ukraine would hit Chinese exports to Europe.
Straight from China, the President travelled to Brussels. There he held talks with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the President of the European Council Charles Michel. Following those meetings Andrzej Duda stressed the need for unity and solidarity.
- Those who create international tensions should see our unity, because only in this way are we able to defend peace and international law, which is of fundamental importance.
Also in Brussels, at NATO Headquarters, the President spoke with Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Andrzej Duda reiterated the need to strengthen the eastern flank and suggested that the Alliance could arrange talks with Ukraine and Georgia during the next NATO summit.
- I have no doubt that reinforcement is needed on NATO eastern flank. Anyone can see what is happening: Russia is increasing its military presence in our part of Europe. As we speak, more and more Russian units are arriving in the vicinity of the Russian–Ukrainian border, as well as in Belarus. This will fundamentally change the security architecture unless those units are returned to Russian garrisons.
A day later, the first top–level meeting of the Weimar Triangle in 11 years took place in Berlin.
The Presidents of Poland and France and the German Chancellor adopted a joint declaration stressing Euro–Atlantic unity and calling on Russia to de–escalate the situation under the threat of sanctions.
Even before his departure for Berlin, Andrzej Duda had formulated an assessment that the intense activity of the Russian army, mounting troops along the Ukrainian border or the ongoing Russian manoeuvres in Belarus make it necessary “to close ranks, to act together, to show international solidarity, first with Ukraine, second within the North Atlantic Alliance and the European Union”.
– Unity, unity, and once more: unity. The need to extinguish all conflicts and to close ranks has been a dominating note in these talks.
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In recent months, Andrzej Duda has had numerous talks – mainly on security issues – with German President Frank–Walter Steinmeier. He informed him, among other things, about the situation on the Polish–Belarusian border and received assurances of German support.
Security, Ukraine and Polish–British cooperation were the main topics of President Andrzej Duda's meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The President thanked for solidarity and military reinforcement of the region's security.
On the same day, the Polish President was on the phone speaking about security in Europe with the leaders of Ukraine, Turkey and Italy.
Andrzej Duda and Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the conclusions of recent international meetings. The President told the Ukrainian leader about the Weimar Triangle summit and the Beijing talks, among other things.
All leaders were unanimous about the need to complete the system of sanctions against Russia, should an attack on Ukraine be launched. It is necessary to support Ukraine and not to give way to Russia's dictate, – stressed the Polish President after the end of the subsequent consultations of the leaders of the US, Canada and European countries, as well as the NATO Secretary General. Two days later, Andrzej Duda was on the phone with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The following days, he also held talks with the President of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, and the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. The topic: security in Central and Eastern Europe in view of the tense situation on Ukraine's border with Russia.
Back in September 2021, in Rome, during the 16th meeting of the Presidents of States of the Arraiolos Group, which brings together the presidents of a dozen European countries, Andrzej Duda made an emphatic point:
– The construction of Nord Stream 2 is a gigantic strategic mistake with far–reaching consequences – I am afraid that we will feel the consequences of this wrong decision very soon.