Soviet occupation held back development of Poland and Lithuania says PM
Because Soviet domination obstructed the development of Poland and Lithuania, both countries today face challenges that are very similar, Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister of Poland, said in Vilnius on Friday.
Morawiecki was in the capital of Lithuania to take part in inter-governmental consultations.
During a joint conference with his Lithuanian counterpart Ingrida Simonyte, Poland's prime minister pointed out that after February 24, it could be said that the aggressive policies of Russia were threats against Europe as well as the entire world.
"This aggressiveness is something that, over the past centuries, has taken its toll on us, both in Lithuania and Poland," he said.
"We are meeting on the eve of a very tragic anniversary for Poland," Morawiecki noted. "On September 17, 1939, Poland was invaded by the Soviet Union just after September 1, which marked the beginning of the Second World War."
He mentioned that on June 15, 1940, Lithuania was also invaded by the Soviet Union. "And this date had the same meaning for our Lithuanian friends, as it did for Poland. It meant many decades of enslavement, many decades of Soviet crimes on Polish and Lithuanian lands."
"This Soviet occupation, unfortunately, set us back in development," he said. "As such, today, both Lithuania and Poland face very similar challenges, despite the three decades of transformation that are behind us."
Ingrida Simonyte said that the main topic of the talks were Ukraine and the war going that was going on over territorial integrity, sovereignty, as well for European values such as freedom, the possibility to make one's own decisions and for the right not to live a life dictated by others.
"It is a fight between culture and an absence of culture, a battle between freedom and slavery, and one between truth and lies," she added.