Message from the President of the Republic of Poland
President Andrzej Duda: In these extremely difficult days, we must not allow ourselves to be divided. Only together can we successfully resist evil. The most important thing is unity, unity and above all unity.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Today in the early morning hours Russian troops began their armed aggression against our neighbour: independent sovereign Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s decision unleashed war. This entails countless tragedies, death and destruction. Nobody is as familiar with such predicament as we, Poles, so heavily tried by warfare and aggression.
Our neighbours: Ukrainians are taking today the most trying test where their lives are hanging in the balance. The test whose stake in their state’s independence. They not only defend their freedom but the freedom of us all. In this respect, they can count on full support from Poland.
I stated the fact yesterday in Kyiv just a few hours ahead of Russian invasion. We, Poland, have been, we are, and we will be in solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian nation.
The Russian aggression against Ukraine is a turning point for our entire Western community. Until now, many world leaders have lived in the illusion that Vladimir Putin and Russia could be engaged in normal negotiations, and that agreements can be reached that will be respected. As Poland, we have repeatedly warned against such an attitude.
President Lech Kaczyński invoked this in his speech during the Russian aggression against Georgia, when he was warning: „today Georgia, tomorrow Ukraine, the Baltic States the day after tomorrow, and then perhaps the time will come for my country, Poland!„ Unfortunately, no conclusions were drawn from that lesson, and further tragedies have occurred and are occurring.
That is why it is so important for the whole Western community today to be united and to adopt a firm common position on Russia. We must react to this new aggression producing an extremely firm and resolute response. I have spoken to world leaders about that point on many occasions in recent days.
We need very painful sanctions, which will hit all areas of operations of the Russian aggressor.
In these extremely difficult days, we must not allow ourselves to be divided. Only together can we successfully resist evil. The most important thing is unity, unity and above all unity.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
As President of the Republic of Poland and Commander–in–Chief of the Armed Forces, I assure you of our full readiness to provide security to our borders. We are in constant contact with our NATO allies. Tomorrow, a meeting of the leaders of states from our region will be held in Warsaw, and in Brussels there will be a special summit of the North Atlantic Alliance. We are united to ensure the security of all countries in the Alliance.
The Russian attack on Ukraine has clearly illustrated how important NATO's role is, how important the presence of American troops in Poland and Europe is.
Today, in a situation where security is under threat, we can see clearly how strong and important transatlantic ties are. The United States is, and should remain, a leader in world security.
The war in Ukraine also poses other serious challenges for our country. We must be prepared to accept many refugees from Ukraine. People who will seek a safe haven with us fleeing the tragedy of war.
I am convinced that we will show them solidarity and provide all possible assistance. On many occasions have we demonstrated that in trying times we can always rise to the occasion. That is what we are like as a nation.
This difficult moment in which we find ourselves demands great responsibility from all of us – politicians and the media in particular. We are and will be subject to Russian propaganda and disinformation. Let us not allow anyone to sow discord among us, let us not be divided, let us not be misled.
Today, as Western world, we are passing a credibility test. The future of the free world depends on how we respond together to the evil that is unfolding before our very eyes. These days we are providing our answer to the central question: do the values we share – freedom, democracy, the rule of law, human rights, solidarity – really mean anything, or are they just fine slogans? For us Poles, they are fundamental.
Long live a free, independent and democratic Ukraine!
Long live Poland!