’Poland recognizes Ukraine’s independence, Crimea included’ – country’s officials reassure

This comes after Polish President Andrzej Duda’s Friday interview for Kanal Zero youtube channel, where he made a surprising remark on Crimea that echoed nationally and around the world in the following hours and days.

Burza po słowach prezydenta nt. Krymu. Teraz odpowiada

Burza po słowach prezydenta nt. Krymu. Teraz odpowiadaPAP/Piotr Nowak; twitter.com/@AndrzejDuda

During the interview, Duda called Crimea „special for historical reasons”, claiming that „for most of the time it was under Russia’s control”. He also added that due to that fact, the peninsula would be hard to regain given its special significance for Russia.

This came as a shock to many, as Duda has been known for his unwavering and strong support for Ukraine and its cause so far. Numerous Russian and pro-Russian social media accounts and media outlets have immediately picked up Duda’s statement and started to spread it to use it in their interest.

Speaking for Polish Radio, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Krzysztof Gawkowski of the New Left dubbed the words of the head of state as „irresponsible”.

On Saturday morning, the Polish president reassured on social media that his actions and position on Russian aggression against Ukraine are clear and remain unchanged: „Russia is violating international law, it is an aggressor and an occupier. Russian attack on Ukraine and occupation of the internationally recognized territories of Ukraine, including Crimea, is a crime” – Andrzej Duda wrote.

He added that the war in Ukraine cannot end with Russia’s victory. „Russian imperialism must be stopped, defeated and blocked for the future. Ukraine must win, because this war must be won by the Free World. We all stand shoulder to shoulder with a free, sovereign and independent Ukraine against aggression and brutal imperialism!” – President Duda concluded.

Other Polish high-level officials followed with their own statements on the matter, reassuring Ukraine and Ukrainians of Poland’s continuous support.

„Poland recognizes the independence of Ukraine within its internationally established borders, which have been repeatedly confirmed by the Russian Federation: starting with the Treaty of November 19, 1990, the Budapest Memorandum of December 5, 1994, and the Border Treaty of January 28, 2003” – emphasised Poland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Radosław Sikorski in a social media post.

Speaking for Polish Radio afterwards Sikorski added that the President’s post-interview clarification of his position should end the discourse on this matter.

Paweł Kowal, who heads the Polish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission, told Polish private broadcaster RMF FM that any stories about „Russian Crimea” are nonsense spread by Russian propaganda. He added that Crimea „is Russian as much as [the eastern Polish city of] Białystok”.

„Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine, enjoying regional autonomy, which few people are aware of, enshrined in the Ukrainian Constitution. It is autonomous within Ukraine, has a separate parliament and a separate government. Also, it is a historical homeland for Crimean Tatars” – Kowal said.

He also recalled a recent conversation with the leader of the Crimean Tatar people, Mustafa Dzhemilev, noting that there is a proposal from Ukraine to further expand Crimea’s autonomy.

In response to Andrzej Duda’s words Ukraine’s Ambassador to Poland, Vasyl Zvarych, stated that Crimea is and will remain Ukrainian – adding that its occupation by Russia is a war crime and that the de-occupation of the peninsula is a task both for Ukraine and for the entire free world.

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Source: UKRinform, PAP, IAR

Radio Poland

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