According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Poland and Ukraine are close allies. “Ukrainian and Polish hearts beat for freedom, for the mutual independence of our states, for our native Europe, our common home, and we will win!” Zelenskyy said yesterday in a speech in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. “There is no longer any force that can overcome the Ukrainian-Polish friendship.”
First official visit to Poland since the beginning of the war
It was Zelenskyj’s first official visit to Poland since the start of the Russian invasion of his country on February 24, 2022. In Warsaw he spoke to President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, among others.
For the Poles, the visit was primarily an important symbolic gesture. From the very first days of the war, the Poles showed unprecedented helpfulness to war refugees. Millions crossed the border, many moved further west, some went back to their homeland. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), around 1.6 million people from Ukraine currently have protection status in Poland.
Poland’s military support for Ukraine also played an important role in Zelenskyy’s visit. A few weeks ago, Duda announced that MiG-29 fighter jets would be delivered to Ukraine. During Selenskyj’s visit, he became specific: Ukraine had already delivered eight MiG-29s from Poland, four of them “over the past few months” and another four only “recently”. In addition, six MiG-29s are currently being prepared for handover, Duda announced.
Zelenskyj emphasizes close Polish-Ukrainian alliance
Zelenskyj also signed a preliminary contract with Poland’s Prime Minister Morawiecki for the purchase of new Polish wheeled armored personnel carriers. A few days ago, Morawiecki announced that Ukraine wanted to order 100 KTO Rosomak wheeled infantry fighting vehicles. The contract will be financed with EU funds for Poland and US aid for Ukraine.
In his speech, Zelenskyi emphasized that the close Polish-Ukrainian alliance is a cornerstone for freedom in Eastern Europe. “If we are free together with you, it is a guarantee that freedom will be strong in all our neighboring countries, neighbors of the European Union – Romania, Slovakia, Lithuania and other Baltic countries,” said Zelenskyy.
He added: “If we are free, it is a guarantee that freedom will also assert itself in Moldova and will not leave Georgia and necessarily come to Belarus.” Moldova is under Russian pressure. In Georgia in the South Caucasus, there had recently been protests against the government, which wanted to reintroduce civil society like in Russia. Belarus is closely allied with Moscow under Head of State Alexander Lukashenko and involved in the war of aggression against Ukraine.
Kyiv: Heavy house-to-house fighting in Bachmut
Russian attackers and Ukrainian defenders fought bitter house-to-house fighting in Bakhmut. A number of attacks by Russian soldiers in the industrial zone of the eastern Ukrainian city had been repelled with the support of artillery and grenade launchers, the military leadership announced in Kiev yesterday. Despite a superior number of personnel, the Russian units had not managed to break through, it was said.
Russian troops have been trying to capture Bakhmut in the Donetsk region since late summer. Most of the city and parts of the center are already under Russian control. However, in the western part of the city, which used to have 70,000 inhabitants, the Ukrainian units are still putting up stubborn resistance. Russia invaded Ukraine more than 13 months ago.
UN: US and UK boycott Russian children’s commissioners
Representatives of the USA and Great Britain have left an informal meeting of the UN Security Council in protest against speeches by the Russian children’s commissioner Maria Lwova-Belowa, who is wanted by arrest warrant. When Lwova-Belowa spoke during a video conference at the session in New York yesterday, the chairs of the two countries remained empty – as did those of Albania and Malta.
Russia currently holds the rotating chair of the body. Lwova-Belova’s invitation was considered a provocation because she is considered a key figure in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children from the war zone to Russia. The International Criminal Court in The Hague has therefore issued an arrest warrant for this “abduction” against Lwova-Belowa and against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Since the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Kiev has repeatedly accused Moscow of “deporting” Ukrainian children. Most recently, Kiev spoke of 19,514 affected children, including 4,390 orphans. Moscow denies this and speaks of evacuations.
That’s going to be important today
French head of state Emmanuel Macron and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are meeting in Beijing today for talks with China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping. The focus will be on the Ukraine conflict and economic relations.
In Moscow, Kremlin chief Putin and the Belarusian ruler Lukashenko continue their talks. It is about current political issues. In addition to the planned stationing of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus on the border with Poland, this will probably also include a reaction to Finland’s accession to NATO.
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