Zelensky awarded Poland's highest honour
Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky has been awarded the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest distinction, for his services to security, resilience and the defense of human rights.
Presenting the Order, Poland’s president Andrzej Duda said: "There is no doubt that you, Volodymyr Zelensky, are exceptional.
"It is hard to hide the tears of emotion seeing your service to your motherland. You have not abandoned either Ukraine or your compatriots.
“You are a model of state and national leadership."
He added: "You have not abandoned Ukraine, nor have you abandoned, above all, your compatriots, defenders of the homeland in the most difficult situation you have found yourself in, in all of Ukraine's history, in the face of aggression that was to destroy your state, that was to destroy your nation as well.
“Importantly, it was also supposed to destroy the future of our part of Europe, not only Ukraine, but also the neighborhood of Ukraine, and therefore also Poland.
"A year ago, in February 2022, after Russia’s aggression, none of us knew what the fate of Ukraine would be, what your fate would be.
“We have no doubt that your attitude, combined with the heroism of Ukrainian soldiers, saved Ukraine.
“We have no doubts that your stance today largely saves Europe from the deluge of Russian imperialism."
The Order of the White Eagle is the oldest and highest decoration of the Republic of Poland, awarded for great civil and military merits for the country. It is awarded to the most eminent Poles and the highest-ranking representatives of foreign countries.
According to the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, Zelenski received the award in recognition of his merits in deepening relations between Poland and Ukraine, for his activities for security, and his steadfastness in defending human rights.
Zelensky and his wife Olena arrived in Poland on Wednesday morning for their first visit to the country together and Zelensky's first since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
Duda's international policy aide, Marcin Przydacz, said the presidential talks will cover bilateral relations, security, and the current situation in Ukraine and the region.
He said: "The presidents will talk about how to uphold the West's support (for Ukraine - PAP), and European and Euroatlantic unity.”
He added that "there is a need to strengthen this unity today, because Russian propaganda... is trying to pull our cooperation apart."
Przydacz said the presidents will also discuss economic issues, including future openings for Polish enterprises on the Ukrainian market, as well as historical issues between the two countries.
In the afternoon, Zelenski will meet Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the heads of Poland's two parliamentary houses, before attending a Polish-Ukrainian economic forum and meeting people involved in aiding Ukrainian war refugees in Poland.