After reports of the tense situation in the Donbas, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky decided to personally visit the conflict zone in the east of the country. “Ukraine is not alone in defending its sovereignty,” assured Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, who paid an urgent visit to Kiev in connection with “the threat to peace at the borders of Ukraine”.
“Zelenskiy goes to Donbas as the head of the armed forces to talk to the military and support the morale (in the original – fighting spirit – ed.) Of the defenders” – stated in a statement on the president’s website. “As the commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, I want to be with our soldiers in difficult times in the Donbas. I am going to the escalation positions,” Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter. He also expressed condolences on the death of a 23-year-old military man who was killed in shelling last night.
“Ukraine needs peace and will do whatever it takes to achieve this,” he stressed.
On Thursday, the Operations Staff of the Joint Armed Forces of Ukraine announced that from the beginning of the day until At 7 a.m., the enemy’s forces violated the truce in force since July five times. Fire was opened on Ukrainian positions four times, as a result of which a soldier was killed – it was specified. Civilian infrastructure was also fired upon.
The Ukrainian Pravda website points out that this is the eleventh death on the side of the Ukrainian army in the last two weeks.
In the past day, the forces of pro-Russian separatists violated the truce seven times, and one Ukrainian soldier was wounded, the staff said. It was emphasized that Ukrainian forces opened fire in response.
“Minister Zbigniew Rau assured that Ukraine is not alone in defending its sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders,” the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced. The chief of Polish diplomacy paid an “urgent” visit to Kiev on Thursday in connection with “the threat to peace at the borders of Ukraine”. The ministry in Warsaw previously announced that Rau’s visit began with a meeting with the head of Ukrainian diplomacy, Dmytro Kuleba. It was noted that both ministers paid tribute to the memory of the thousands of victims of Russian aggression in Ukraine outside the walls of the Mikhailovsky Council in Kiev.
“I am pleased to welcome Zbigniew Rau during his extraordinary visit to Kiev,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter. The minister stressed that while Russia “increases the security threat to Ukraine, Europe and the transatlantic community,” it is important to strengthen the Ukrainian-Polish strategic partnership. He added that Poland is “a longtime ally and trusted friend”.
In another entry, in Ukrainian, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy indicated that the ministerial meeting was scheduled for a later date. “But due to the situation, Zbigniew Rau corrected his plans and came to Kiev earlier at my invitation,” added Kuleba.
Rau “expressed concern”
After the meeting of ministers, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that “Dmytro Kuleba informed Zbigniew Rau in detail about the systemic aggravation of the security situation by Russia in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, about drawing Russian troops to the borders of our country and the increase in the intensity of Russian propaganda,” we read on the website of the Ukrainian ministry.
The communiqué added that Rau “expressed concern over these actions by Russia and assured: Poland consistently and strongly supports Ukraine in its struggle for sovereignty and territorial integrity.” It was also indicated that Poland expressed support for the Ukrainian course towards full membership in the EU and NATO.
The heads of diplomacy agreed that they would make joint efforts to consolidate international support for Ukraine in resisting Russian aggression, wrote the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release.
It was emphasized that the ministers also discussed the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the construction of which is opposed by Poland and Ukraine. The parties also discussed, inter alia, deepening political and military, trade and investment cooperation.
“Independent and secure Ukraine is an indispensable part of Europe”
The head of Polish diplomacy, quoted in the communiqué of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that the purpose of his visit was “to confirm our policy that Ukraine is not alone in defending sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders and that Ukraine has the right to defend itself.” “An independent and secure Ukraine is an indispensable part of a Europe based on the principles of the Paris Charter for a New Europe, the 30th anniversary of which we have recently celebrated,” he said.
“Poland will consistently act to fulfill the promise of the Paris Charter to create a truly new Europe. Poland calls on all signatories of the Charter to respect their commitments,” he added.
Rau informed that during talks with the head of Ukrainian diplomacy, as well as Leonid Kravchuk and Deputy Prime Minister Reznikov, he discussed the threats to peace in Europe resulting from the finalization of work on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and the escalation of the security situation in the east and south of Ukraine. “We can clearly see that this project allows for the synchronization of political, economic and military pressures. This pipeline, if launched, will create an evident and lasting threat to peace in Europe” – emphasized the head of Polish diplomacy, quoted in the press release.
“We agreed that the increase in military presence and activity along the eastern section of the border of Ukraine and in the occupied Crimea, as we have witnessed in recent days, should be taken into account in the process of shaping and pursuing a policy of non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea and violations of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. , Ukraine’s partners must be ready to conduct a serious debate on the scope and criteria of selective cooperation with states that are violating fundamental norms of international law, “he added.
The fights between Ukrainian forces and the Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, which have been going on since 2014, have claimed over 13,000 lives.
Rau: During the OSCE presidency, Poland will stand up for the sovereign right of every nation to freely choose alliances
The head of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalled that in January next year Poland would take over the chairmanship of the OSCE and assured that he would continue to advocate peaceful resolution of conflicts, not resorting to unilateral use of force or the threat of its use, inviolability of borders and the sovereign right of every nation to freely choose alliances and development model.
Rau thanked the representatives of the Ukrainian authorities for confirming their willingness to cooperate for peace in Europe and to jointly counteract attempts to “influence the policy of European states by means of pressure, using both military and economic means.”
On the eve of the 81st anniversary of the Katyn massacre, the head of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs paid tribute to the memory of the victims of the NKVD at the Polish War Cemetery in Kiev-Bykivnia. In Bykivnia, located just outside Kiev, about 150,000 people were buried in mass graves. victims of communism of various nationalities, including several thousand Poles from the Katyn list
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / FOREIGN MINISTER PRESS SERVICE / HANDOUT