The Presidents of Ukraine and Poland, Volodymyr Zelensky and Andrzej Duda, addressed the Verkhovna Rada on May 22. Duda became the first foreign leader to come to Kyiv to speak in the Ukrainian parliament in person. The video of the speeches of the heads of state was published by the Office of the President.
Highlights from Duda's speech:
- You are Ukrainians. You are not refugees. You are our guests. Poland will do everything possible to help Ukraine become a member of the European Union.
- Unfortunately, there have been recent voices in Europe calling for Ukraine to yield to Putin's demands. I want to say clearly: only Ukraine has the right to decide its future, only Ukraine has the right to decide for itself ... There can be no negotiations and decision-making behind Ukraine's back.
- After Bucha, Borodyanka and Mariupol, there can be no dealing with Russia. We thank the Ukrainian people for their resistance, courage and protection of their state.
- No one will be able to break the unity of the Ukrainian and Polish peoples — no hostile politicians, no foreign agents, no jury at Eurovision.
- Today is the time, in my deep conviction, for a new Polish-Ukrainian treaty, the Treaty of Good Neighborliness, which will take into account what we have achieved together in our relations only in recent months.
- The Polish-Ukrainian border should unite, not divide… Let one of the signs of our relations be the high-speed connection between Kyiv and Warsaw. I believe we will do that in the coming years.
Highlights from Zelensky's speech:
- Without realizing it, on February 24, Russia destroyed something else. This is a kind of "repository" of past contradictions between Ukraine and Poland. They are no more. One day it became clear that all contradictions do not have force when there is the force of such a threat. Threats to the survival of our peoples — Ukraine, Poland, the peoples of Europe.
- I am grateful to the Polish Sejm for the recently adopted law on assistance to the citizens of Ukraine. This is a completely unprecedented decision, according to which our citizens, who were forced to move to Poland for a while due to the aggression of the Russian Federation, will receive almost the same rights and opportunities as Polish citizens.
- And this step will not remain unilateral. I believe that in the near future we should submit a similar — reciprocal — bill to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
- Before this speech, I signed a decree emphasizing the special role of the Polish city of Rzeszów. I have introduced a special honorary title of "savior city" for the partner cities of our state, which today do the impossible to help us, to help our people, to help our army. On behalf of the entire Ukrainian people, I would like to express my gratitude to the city of Rzeszów, the first "savior city".
- I am grateful for your readiness — for your willingness personally, Andrzej — to pay visits to European capitals together with the President of Slovakia, Zuzana Čaputová, in order to lobby for Ukraine's membership in the European Union in countries that are, as they say, "skeptical". In fact, they are not skeptics, but future optimists.
Presidents of Ukraine and Poland Volodymyr Zelensky and Andrzej Duda in the Verkhovna Rada, May 22, 2022
Photo: Kancelaria Prezydenta / Twitter