Ukraine – Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki, Czech PM Petr Fiala, Slovenian PM Janez Janša, and Polish Deputy PM Jarosław Kaczyński travelled by train to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Tuesday, 15 March, to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and express support for Ukraine, which has been resisting Russia’s invasion since 24 February.
Lech Kaczyński in Tbilisi, François Mitterrand in Sarajevo
As the head of the Polish Prime Minister’s Chancellery, Michał Dworczyk, made clear during a press conference, this highly symbolic visit, which is reminiscent of those of Lech Kaczyński in Tbilisi in 2008 and François Mitterrand in Sarajevo in 1992 under similar conditions, “was prepared in close cooperation with leading European politicians”, Morawiecki having met on the eve of his trip to Kyiv with the presidents of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Quoting the late President Lech Kaczyński, who said in 2008 in Tbilisi
“Today Georgia, tomorrow Ukraine, the day after tomorrow – the Baltic States and later, perhaps, time will come for my country, Poland”,
the Polish PM said:
“In such decisive moments for the world, it is our duty to be where history is being made. Because it is not about us, it is about the future of our children who deserve to live in a world without tyranny.”
“Ukraine is the guardian of European values”
At a joint press conference with Janez Janša, Jarosław Kaczyński and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Morawiecki reaffirmed his solidarity with Ukraine:
“We will never leave you alone. We will not leave you, because we know that you are fighting not only for your own homes, your own homeland, freedom and security, but also for ours.
(…) We are here today to admire your fight against such a brutal aggressor. This invasion has to stop. (…) Those who are killed by Putin, they can never be forgotten. (…)
Today, Ukraine is the guardian of European values. (…) We must invite Ukraine into the European Union,
we must provide weapons to defend your country, we will never leave you.” He then wrote on Twitter:
“Europe must understand that if it loses Ukraine it will never be the same again. It will no longer be Europe. Rather it will be a defeated, humiliated and pathetic version of its former self.
I want a strong and resolute Europe.”, before adding: “It is here, in war-torn Kyiv, that history is being made. It is here, that freedom fights against the world of tyranny. It is here that the future of us all hangs in the balance. The EU supports Ukraine, which can count on the help of its friends – we brought this message to Kyiv today. ”
A NATO mission in Ukraine?
Polish Deputy PM Jarosław Kaczyński proposed a NATO peacekeeping mission in Ukraine: “I would like to appeal to the conscience of European leaders, to the principles they preach, because
Ukraine needs help. I think it is necessary that a peaceful NATO mission or a broader agreement operates in Ukraine. This mission must not be a defenceless mission. It must strive to bring humanitarian and peaceful aid to Ukraine. Europe and the whole democratic world need it.
(…) My compliments to the President and Prime Minister of Ukraine and to all the Ukrainian people. I express my sympathy to all those who are victims, but this sympathy cannot be an empty word, it must have a greater scope.”
“Every path in Ukraine is a European path”
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša said something in the same vein: “Together with Mateusz Morawiecki and Petr Fiala, we want to bring a message to Ukraine.
Ukraine is a European country. Every path in Ukraine is a European path. Soon it will be an EU path too.
For the past two years, we have been discussing on large European values. Mostly a theoretical debate. Then,
suddenly, we realized that those fundamental European values actually exist. And that they are threatened. And that Europeans are defending them. With their lives. In Ukraine. This was the moment, when we in the EU started to finally wake up.
To change. To became more united than ever. On support for Ukraine. Because of your courage. Your unity. Your sacrifice. At this moment, speaking of our values, there is no country on the whole of our continent which is more European than Ukraine. Thank you for not only defending your homeland and Europe as a territory, but for defending the very core of European values and our way of life. Your fight is our fight and together we will prevail.”
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala agreed with this statement:
“We are here to show our country’s support for your struggle. We know that you are also fighting for our lives and our freedom. You are not alone, our country is at your side. Europe is at your side. ”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the leaders of Poland, Slovenia and Czechia for their valuable support at such a dramatic time for his country:
“This is a firm stance at this time, when many ambassadors have left Ukraine because of the massive invasion of the Russian Federation on our soil, and these men, leaders of wonderful independent countries, are not afraid. They are more afraid of our fate and they are there to support us, and this is a very strong, courageous and friendly approach.
(…) I am convinced that with such friends, with such countries, neighbours and partners, we truly will succeed and win.”