Russian actions in Ukraine “bear hallmarks of genocide”, says Poland’s president

“For a week now the whole of Ukraine has been courageously confronting the invaders,” Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, said in an address to the nation. “Numerous attacks by the Russian troops bear the hallmarks of genocide,” he added, citing examples of attacks on civilian targets.

“I believe that they will not remain unpunished and the perpetrators will be held responsible by international tribunals,” pledged Duda. He also thanked Poles who, from day one of the Russian invasion, have been actively helping refugees.

“Only a week ago I was in beautiful, proud Kyiv and I spoke to President Volodymyr Zelensky,” said Duda in the speech, which was broadcast on state television. “A few hours later Russian soldiers attacked independent Ukraine, waging a brutal war against our neighbour.”

“Today Kyiv is being bombed, while citizens together with the Ukrainian army are defending their city,” he continued. “Ukraine has become a symbol of defending our common values: freedom, sovereignty and democracy.”

“Today Poland’s viewpoint has been accepted by the majority of countries of the west. It’s an enormous change,” pointed out Duda, who noted Poland’s efforts to introduce tough sanctions on Russia as well as its appeal for Ukraine to be given an accelerated path to joining the European Union.

All these efforts, however, according to the president, make Poland a target for “organised and cynical Russian propaganda and disinformation”.

Referring to unprecedented humanitarian efforts by both Polish authorities and the public to help the hundreds of thousands who have fled over the border as well as those still inside Ukraine, Duda noted that “today Poland is the leader in providing aid to Ukraine”.

Poland to make it easier for Ukrainian refugees to work and receive child benefits

Duda thanked Poles for helping refugees and demonstrating “what solidarity means”. He added that he is in almost daily contact with Ukraine’s President Zelensky, seeking new ways for how Poland can support its eastern neighbour.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine last Thursday, over 670,000 people have crossed the border into Poland, around half of them children. Yesterday alone, almost 100,000 fled to Poland, according to the border guard.

Main image credit: Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

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