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Why Poland backs Ukraine over Russian invasion, by Polish President, Duda

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja
07 September 2022   |   4:04 am
The President, Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, has explained the reason behind the support Poland has been giving to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Tatyana ZENKOVICH

The President, Republic of Poland, Andrzej 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 imperialistic and brutal, Duda said Poland is lending 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 defence 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, 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, he said the memorandum signed earlier in the day between Nigeria and Poland in the area of agriculture, was a timely decision.

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

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

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

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

According to him, the tightening of bonds and opening of opportunities between both nations have led to increase in export, 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, the Head, Foreign Trade Office, Polish Investment and Trade Agency, Justyna Sitarska, gave details of areas Nigerians can invest in Poland.

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

Noting that these sectors are key to the Polish economy, she 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 disclosed ongoing work towards fostering business relationship between both countries.

Sitarska also pledged the support of the agency to potential investors. “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 $1billion.

He called for greater ties towards a mutually beneficial long-term relation.

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