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Inauguration of a statue of Lech Kaczyński in Georgia

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Poland/Georgia – Two days after visiting Kyiv to reaffirm Europe’s support for Ukraine along with his Slovenian and Czech counterparts, Janez Janša and Petr Fiala, as well as his deputy prime minister and PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński, Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki travelled to Batumi, Georgia’s second-largest city and a seaside resort on the Black Sea, on Thursday, 17 March to meet with Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili.

The two PMs naturally talked about the war in Ukraine, which is similar to the war Georgia itself experienced almost 14 years ago.

Photo: Krystian Maj / KPRM

An “emotional and historical” friendship between Poland and Georgia

Dear Georgian friends, today I have the joy of being welcomed for the first time in your beautiful country, a country that has a deep friendship with Poland, an emotional, historical, strategic, political, and economic friendship”, he said as part of his remarks. He also recalled, as he had in Kyiv, the words of the late Polish President Lech Kaczyński, who had said in Tbilisi in 2008:

Today Georgia, tomorrow Ukraine, the day after tomorrow the Baltic States, and later, perhaps, the time will come for my country, Poland”.

Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki stressed that today “it is important to know what we shall do about the huge political crisis caused by Russia’s military attack on Ukraine. That is why I went to Kyiv a few days ago to make it clear that we do not agree with this Russian policy”, he further stated.

“[The Ukrainian people] are also fighting for the security of Georgia and Poland. They fight for European values.

“Georgia has already experienced the tragedy that is happening in Ukraine today”

For his part, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili echoed the words of his Polish counterpart:

Our position is absolutely clear: of course we stand in solidarity, and I would like to reiterate our strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

(…) Our common wish is that this war will end and that peace will come to Ukraine. (…) Unfortunately,

Georgia has already experienced the grave misfortune, the tragedy that is happening in Ukraine today (…) We have already paid a heavy price. (…) 20% of our territory is occupied by Russia, and we have to live with Russian troops on our territory.

(…) Unfortunately, after the August [2008] war, no sanctions were imposed on Russia by the world leaders of that time. (…) We have seen renewed links with Russia, as well as new commercial and economic projects.

Tribute to late President Lech Kaczyński (1949-2010)

Morawiecki’s visit to Batumi was also an opportunity for him to attend the inauguration of a statue of President Lech Kaczyński, who stood firmly by Georgia during the 2008 Russian invasion. Paying tribute to him on this occasion, the Polish prime minister recalled  that

President Lech Kaczyński knew that the basis of the community is European, Christian culture, founded on freedom, as well as on Greek reason, Roman law, and Christian tradition.

Polish Deputy PM Jarosław Kaczyński himself commented on this tribute to his twin brother, who was killed in the Smolensk disaster:

It is a great moment for me that a monument to my brother, Lech Kaczyński, is being unveiled in Batumi, Georgia. Citizens of Georgia, your country represented a very large part of my brother’s activities.

The leader of the PiS party said that the statue’s unveiling was yet more proof that the ties and friendship between Georgia and Poland “are becoming stronger and closer”.