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Russian Invasion: Why we decide to support Ukraine, Polish President, Duda

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie (Abuja Bureau Chief)
06 September 2022   |   8:29 pm
The President, of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, has explained the reason behind the support Poland has been giving to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February.

President, of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda PHOTO: Bridget Chiedu Onochie

The President, Republic of Poland, Andrezej Duda, has explained the reason behind the support Poland has been giving to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February.

Duda who was in Abuja, Nigeria, yesterday, noted that Poland resolved to assist Ukraine because it did not see any basis for its invasion by Russia.

Describing Russia’s action as imperialism and brutal invasion, President Duda stated that Poland is lending its full and unequivocal support to Ukraine.

“We are supporting Ukraine in every single aspect. First, we are providing our support to the state of Ukraine in the defense of its borders, in defense of its independence, in defense of its rights, its international position as well as international laws.

“Beyond that, we are extending our support to the citizens of Ukraine by opening our doors to them and providing them with shelter. We are also providing supports to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and trying to help them protect their borders.”

The President however expressed fears that Ukraine is not the only victim of the war between Russia and Ukraine, stressing that the accompanying energy and food crises have spread beyond Europe to other parts of the world including Africa.

Noting that the war also poses potential food threat to Nigeria, the President said the memorandum signed earlier in the day between Nigeria and Poland in the area of agriculture was a timely decision for Nigeria.

According to him, the relationship will help repair the area of relationship affected by war or COVID-19 pandemic. He also pledged to bridge the gap created by the war in Ukraine by supplying Nigerians those products and service they were receiving from Russia or China.

President Duda, who spoke through an interpreter, stated that Nigeria is the only country, which since 2013, has had a Memorandum on Strategic Dialogue with Poland.

“And this also the only African country, whose citizens, due to the ties and bonds with Poland are absolutely recognized in the country. We have Nigerians who have established ties with Poland over the 60 years of relationship between the two countries,” he said.

Within this period, the President noted that Poland has contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria through infrastructure, engineering and education, stressing that many professors are teaching in Nigerian universities.

He added that the good relationship also reflects in the fond memories of Nigerians studying in Poland.

According to the President, the tightening of bonds and opening up opportunities between both nations have led to increasing in export volume in favour of Nigeria by 50 per cent in the last two years.

Duda would be departing Nigeria tomorrow for the continuation of his African tour.

Earlier, the Polish Ambassador to Nigeria, Joanna Tarnawska, said she was delighted to have her country’s President in Nigeria after 60 years of relationship between both countries.

Also speaking, the Head of Foreign Trade Office, Polish Investment and Trade Agency, Justyna Sitarska, gave details of the areas of cooperation for Polish and Nigerian businesses.

They include automotive and electro-mobility sector, aerospace, furniture, yacht, food processing, electronic, fuel and energy.

She noted that these sectors are key to the Polish economy and where Poland has developed a significant expertise and know-how

She therefore looked forward to a long-term partnership that can support infrastructural development in Nigeria.

She was elated about the Polish trade office in Lagos and she disclosed that they are working towards fostering business relationship between Poland and Nigeria.

Sitarska also pledged the support of the agency to potential investors in the areas of providing  Polish market research to help identify good companies to partner with, in vendor selection as well as in price compilation.

“So, we are here for you. Whatever business you want to do with Poland such as looking for suppliers, seeking partners for joint ventures or finance for the project, please let us know,” she said.

A board Member, Polish Investment and Trade Agency, Zdzislaw Sokal, in his remarks, expressed delight that the trade relationship between Nigeria and Poland has exceeded $1 billion.

He called for a greater tie toward a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.

Sokal who was coming to Nigeria for the first time, commended Nigerians for their hospitality.

The President recognized two Polish professors who teach at Nigerian universities.

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