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Ukraine war: “The world is looking at Poland” – Politics

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National assemblies are rarely held in Poland, and when they are held, the anniversaries are at least round. Now, the reason for the meeting of the two houses of parliament, the Sejm and the Senate, is the rather incomplete 23rd anniversary of the country’s accession to NATO on March 12, 1999. But these are times of war, and that is reflected in the guests at this event. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joined the meeting on Friday afternoon.

However, Polish President Andrzej Duda spoke first and began what he called an “appeal to the entire free world”: What is happening in Ukraine shows that “Russia is still an evil empire.” Referring to the many Ukrainian refugees in Poland, he said: “I salute the millions of our compatriots who respond with good to evil every day.” But Poland is safe thanks to NATO, which offers “unshakable security to its members.”

Poland seemed not to feel safe enough this week. On Tuesday night, the Polish government surprised its NATO partner, the US, by proposing that all Poles mig-29-Supply fighter jets to Ukraine through a diversion through the US military base in Ramstein. The United States refused, fearing an escalation of the war.

Currently, Poland seems to be agreeing to all of Ukraine’s demands: it is in favor of more arms deliveries, even tougher sanctions against Russia and Belarus, and also for Ukraine’s speedy accession to the EU.

Thanks to the “Polish brothers and sisters”

Ukrainian President Zelenskiy thanked members of the National Assembly in his speech, appearing on screen in a camouflage-colored T-shirt, as he had done since the outbreak of the war. On the morning of February 24, he said that he had no doubts who would shake hands with the Ukrainians: “Our Polish brothers and sisters.” Jens Stoltenberg summed it up, declaring himself in defense of all Allied territory: “One for all, all for one.”

Poland is getting a lot of international attention right now. Because it has already taken in about 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine. But also because of its far-reaching demands on partners in the EU and NATO.

War in Ukraine: A family from Odessa has found temporary accommodation in a school gymnasium in the Polish border town of Przemyśl.

A family from Odessa found temporary accommodation in a school gymnasium in the Polish border town of Przemyśl.

(Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty)

In recent years, the right-wing populist PiS government has not only fallen out with its European neighbors, but also with the United States since Joe Biden took office. President Duda hesitated for weeks before finally officially congratulating Biden on winning the election, eventually arriving even later than Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Trump administration was glorified by the Polish government as a protector against an aggressive Russia.

During a visit by US Vice President Kamala Harris to Warsaw on Thursday, Trump was no longer mentioned, instead President Duda thanked former President Barack Obama, during whose term it was decided to station US NATO troops permanently in Poland.

Without backing down in the dispute over the rule of law

His country must be a responsible member of NATO, Duda said after meeting with Harris. Poland agreed with the proposal to mig-29-The deliveries, on the one hand, want to support the fighters of Ukraine, which has formulated “clear and strong expectations” of the neighbors. On the other hand, as a credible member of NATO, “in no way did I want to put the alliance in a difficult situation.” Poland also wants to further strengthen its own military and is pushing to speed up the processing of a purchase from the US, which includes tanks and rocket launchers, among other things. Duda also called on the United States to take in Ukrainian refugees.

Harris declined to comment specifically on this, instead thanking Poland for its great willingness to help host and care for the refugees. “The world is looking at Poland,” he said, and people showed “extraordinary generosity.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also visited Warsaw on Thursday and met with his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki and President Duda. The Poles behaved “wonderfully” in the crisis, Trudeau said, speaking in favor of the strictest possible sanctions against Russia.

However, the Polish government does not seem to want to resolve the rule of law dispute with the EU. This week, the government-controlled Constitutional Court ruled that the European Convention on Human Rights was incompatible with Poland’s constitution. It is about the right to an independent judiciary, which the EU Commission and the CJEU no longer have. Polish commentators spoke, above all, of a “Putinization” of the government.


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