Spectre of armed conflict returns to haunt region: Polish president

During a visit to Lithuania, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday said that the spectre of armed conflict was again haunting the region in the wake of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine in 2014, a news agency reported.

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday addressed the Lithuanian National Security Conference in the capital Vilnius, and said that the spectre of armed conflict had returned to the region in the wake of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday addressed the Lithuanian National Security Conference in the capital Vilnius, and said that the spectre of armed conflict had returned to the region in the wake of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine in 2014. PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Speaking at a security conference in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, Duda said such a prospect had re-emerged in this part of Europe for the first time in decades, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

“And so it is a relatively new situation, which calls for a novel approach to security in our region,” the Polish president added during a two-day visit to the Baltic neighbour.

Duda observed that “sadly Russia continues to regularly flex its muscles, such as during the recent war games, Zapad-2021, parts of which were held on training grounds in Belarus, near the Polish and Lithuanian frontiers.”

He told the Lithuanian National Security Conference that there were also mounting „hybrid threats,” such as “illegal attacks on political and economic systems, as well as on democratic values, designed to destabilise our societies, especially through hostile actions in cyberspace.”  

The Polish president cited an ongoing migrant crisis on the Belarus border as “an unprecedented hybrid action” and „a hostile attack by the regime of the Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, cynically exploiting people from the Middle East hoping for a better life in the European Union.”

Duda argued that conventional threats required a further strengthening of NATO, while hybrid threats were being addressed in the military alliance’s new strategy and the EU’s „Strategic Compass” document.

The Polish president told the conference that his country and Lithuania had to work closely together for NATO and the EU to be effective and for the region to be secure.

“We agreed with my friend, the president of Lithuania, Gitanas Nausėda, that our countries are going to cooperate precisely with this objective in mind,” he said.

Duda also said that close ties between Poland and Lithuania, and between Central and Eastern European countries in general, were precisely „what our opponents, especially from the East, fear the most.”

“I deeply believe that we won’t let them divide us and our collaboration will strengthen and flourish like it has in recent years,” he stated.

“This is my wish for Poland, for Lithuania, for all of us,” Duda concluded.

During an address in the Lithuanian parliament on Tuesday, the Polish president said that Warsaw and Vilnius were united in protecting Europe from tyranny.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP

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