Kraków renames square outside Russian consulate in honour of Ukraine
Kraków has become the latest Polish city to show solidarity with Ukraine by renaming the street outside its Russian consulate Skwer Wolnej Ukrainy (Free Ukraine Square).
Speaking at the ceremony, the city’s Mayor, Jacek Majchrowski, told the assembled crowds that “David would triumph over Goliath” whilst also using the occasion to praise Poland’s response to the war.
“By opening this square, we wanted to demonstrate that we are with you… as you fight for your freedom and ours,” he said. “You can show that David can defeat Goliath.”
Continuing, he said: “Nobody expected that in the 21st century we would face such a brutal aggression just beyond our border – everyone had thought that WWII would mark an end to all such murders and battles in Europe. It turned out otherwise.”
Watched by officials and a large number of Ukrainian refugees, the Mayor further remarked on how the war “had caused a huge impulse of friendship on the part of Poles”.
It was a point underlined by Rafał Komarewicz, chairman of the Krakow City Council: “I would like you to feel that you can always count on us,” he said. “We will always be with you and we will help you; I would like to declare that in this symbolic place.”
Wiaczesław Wojnarowski, Ukraine’s consul general in Kraków, also spoke, thanking Poles for their ongoing assistance: “I believe that this historic event is another step in supporting my motherland’s fight; Poland’s aid to my country has been unprecedented on a global scale.
“But most importantly, I would like to thank you for welcoming Ukrainians into your homes.”
The ribbon-cutting was accompanied by a rendition of Ukraine’s national anthem.
In the crowd, several people had turned-up with Ukrainian banners and wearing traditional folk dress; as the ceremony came to its conclusion, some wept.
However, Kraków has not been the first city to rename a street or square to honour Ukraine’s ongoing struggle.
In April, Gdynia unveiled Plac Wolnej Ukrainy just days after the coastal city announced a new partnership with the Ukrainian town of Zhytomyr. In June, meanwhile, Poznań saw the inauguration of skwer Obrońców Ukrainy 2022 (Defenders of Ukraine 2022 Square).
Even more recently, a square in Gdańsk’s Wrzeszcz suburb was renamed Skwer Obrońców Mariupola (Mariupol Defenders Square).
Premiering alongside an outdoor exhibition displaying images of the destroyed Ukrainian city, the square returned quickly to the news after the sign was vandalised by an unknown perpetrator. Police investigations are ongoing and the sign has since been replaced.