Polish presidential couple starts visit to Ukraine

The Polish presidential couple attended an observance marking the 80th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre of Polish prisoners of war by the Soviet secret police NKVD at the Polish Military Cemetery in Bykivnia near Kiev. Leszek Szymański/PAP

Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife, Agata Kornhauser-Duda arrived in Kiev on Sunday afternoon on an official three-day visit to Ukraine, which envisages Duda's talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky and PM Denys Shmyhal.

On Sunday evening, the Polish presidential couple attended an observance marking the 80th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre of Polish prisoners of war by the Soviet secret police NKVD at the Polish Military Cemetery in Bykivnia near Kiev.

The Polish Embassy in Kiev said that a special ceremony is also planned at the Great Famine Memorial honouring victims of the 1932-1933 famine and at a cross commemorating the heroes of the Heavenly Hundred, namely the people who were killed during the revolution at the turn of 2013 and 2014 in Ukraine.

On Monday, Duda will meet Zelensky, Shmyhal and Chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, Dmytro Razumkov.

Political talks will be devoted to bilateral cooperation, Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic aspirations and regional issues, including the situation in Belarus.

Historical issues will also be discussed by the head of Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) Jarosław Szarek, accompanying Duda on the trip, with his Ukrainian counterpart Anton Drobovych.

Polish president will also attend the signing of an agreement between Poland's gas giant PGNiG and Ukraine's state assets "which will open the way for the Polish company to engage in the privatisation of the Ukrainian energy and gas sector, Szczerski said.

Duda is also scheduled to unveil, in front of the Polish Embassy, a monument honouring Anna Walentynowicz, a Polish opposition figure and a Solidarity union activist, who was killed in a plane crash on April 10, 2010 in Smolensk.

On Tuesday, the Polish and Ukrainian presidents will inaugurate a Polish-Ukrainian logistics and transport forum in Odessa. Planned is also the signing of a memorandum on an agreement between the Polish port of Gdańsk and the port of Odessa.

Duda and Zelensky will also lay wreaths at the plaque in Odessa commemorating former Polish President Lech Kaczyński on the 10th anniversary of his death in the Smolensk plane crash.

"A visit to Ukraine, our neighbour, is extremely important," Polish president tweeted after arriving in Kiev. "During the pandemic, many sectors of the economy depend on even better interstate cooperation and specific solutions. Poland's ties with Ukraine are very strong and we are working together to tighten them," he wrote.