Ukrainians are defending freedom of whole Europe, Duda says

Duda declared that Ukrainians "can count on the full support of Poland." Grzegorz Jakubowski/KPRP

Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, said in a televised address on Thursday that Ukrainians, by defending their country, are also defending the whole of Europe.

"This morning, Russian troops launched armed aggression against our neighbour, independent, sovereign Ukraine," said Duda. "By the decision of (the Russian President - PAP) Vladimir Putin, war was unleashed in Europe. It means countless tragedies, death and destruction."

"Nobody knows it better than us, Poles - hit so hard by wars and aggression," he added.

"Our neighbours, the Ukrainians, are passing the most difficult test today, risking their own lives. A test for which the stake is the independence of their country," Duda said.

"They defend not only their freedom, but the freedom of all of us, Europeans," he added.

Duda declared that Ukrainians "can count on the full support of Poland."

He described the Russian aggression against Ukraine as "a turning point for our entire Western community."

"Until now, many world leaders have been under the illusion that normal negotiations can be conducted with Vladimir Putin and Russia, agreements that will be respected," he added. "As Poland, we have warned against this attitude many times."

According to Duda, the Russian aggression should be met with a "very firm" response and severe sanctions "affecting all areas in which the Russian aggressor functions."

He pointed out the importance of being united in "these extremely difficult days... to be able to effectively oppose evil."

"As the president of the Republic of Poland and the commander of the Armed Forces, I assure you that we are fully ready to ensure the security of our borders," said Duda.

He added that Poland is "in constant contact" with its Nato allies.

Duda noted that the leaders of the countries in the region would meet in Warsaw on Friday, and that a special Nato summit is scheduled in Brussels.

"We are united to ensure the security of all countries of the Alliance," he said.

The president added that the Russian attack on Ukraine "clearly showed" the importance of the role of Nato and the importance of the US military presence in Poland and in Europe.

"Today, in a situation of security threat, we can clearly see how strong and important the trans-atlantic ties are. The United States is and should remain a leader in terms of global security," he said.