President Andrzej Duda: If we want a safe Europe, we have to act

President Andrzej Duda: If we want a safe Europe, we have to act.

February 23, 2024

Two years ago, to date, in the evening of February the twenty third, I was leaving Kyiv which was getting ready to repel the Russian aggression. Just hours later, first bombs were dropped on the Ukrainian capital and Vladimir Putin`s troops launched a full–scale war against an independent Ukraine. A brutal war which is unfortunately going on until this day.

Together with Lithuanian President Gintanas Nauseda we went to Kyiv one day before the Russian aggression started in order to give our strong support to President Volodymyr Zelensky and to the Ukrainian people. We wanted to send a clear message that the world would not leave Ukraine alone! 

And that is what happened. Poland has been supporting the fighting Ukraine right from the start. I am truly proud to recall the attitude of millions of Poles who, starting from the first hours of the war, opened up their hearts and homes for our neighbours who were fleeing the tragedy of the war.

We strived to set–up the broadest possible international coalition of support for Ukraine and to impose harsh sanctions on Russia. Poland transferred its own armaments which helped the Ukrainian army stop the Russian onslaught. More than three hundred tanks, guns howitzers, armored vehicles, and last but not least, our planes. We did it at a time when it was most needed, when not everyone was willing to provide such support.

We supported, we are supporting, and we will continue to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom! This support is still critically needed today. Irrespective of the war fatigue. The free world may not let Putin and Russia triumph. Should that happen, we will face another war, sooner or later.

Europe should learn lessons from history. Including the contemporary history. If back in 2008, at the NATO Summit in Bucharest, the United States had been listened to, if Poland and other Central–European countries had been listened to, if the attitude of not teasing Russia had not prevailed, Ukraine would be a member of NATO today. This war would not be fought! This should be a big remorse for some NATO member states.

Russian aggression against Ukraine has clearly demonstrated the importance of the role of NATO, the importance of the presence of US troops in Poland and in Europe. The United States is and should remain the leader of security in Europe and across the world.

However, other NATO members also have to take a bigger share of responsibility for the security of the whole Alliance. They need to intensively modernize and boost their Armed Forces. This is what Poland has been doing for quite a while. We are currently allocating over 4% of GDP for the modernization of our army. For we know that security has a very well–defined, huge price to pay! If we want a safe Europe for future generations, we have to act. We have to act now! 

President: If we want a safe Europe, we have to act (