Polish President Andrzej Duda stresses importance of countering Russia during UAE visit

Polish President Andrzej Duda stresses importance of countering Russia during UAE visit

In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson, Polish President Andrzej Duda explains what worries him most about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling it an example of Russia’s “neo colonial policy” which could breed “aggression against another state” if left unchecked. 

“In a nutshell, [Russia] wants to enslave Ukraine,” the President explained. “And we cannot agree to this in the 21st century. Russia will want to do that with other states if it defeats Ukraine.”

He outlined the current crucial needs of the Ukrainian army, including long-range artillery to “repel the enemy” and “important” training of Ukrainian pilots to bring them up to the NATO standard. 

Duda sat down for this wide-ranging interview with Anderson in Abu Dhabi. The President has been visiting the region, applauding the UAE’s economic and humanitarian aid for Ukraine and sharing his “close perspective” on the ongoing war with Emirati leaders.  

“I gave them my testimony as a neighbor of Ukraine,” he said. “Russian propaganda distorts the reality.” 

On what worries him most about Russia’s growing aggression:

“I do not have any big fear that Russian aggression could happen in Poland right now. Of course, a potential danger is always there.  

Of course, if we allow Russia to win, if Russia defeats Ukraine, the danger [of] further aggression, aggression against another state, is not big, it is huge, even because we are speaking about Russia’s imperial ambitions, which have been revived.”  

“We’re speaking about Russian neo colonial policy. And in this part of the world, people know these notions here. Unfortunately, everybody knows what colonialism is and everybody knows how, what, how hugely destructive it is for all the countries. And now Russia wants to subjugate Ukraine. It wants to subjugate the state, the society, it wants to profit from the work of the people. It wants to benefit from the natural resources. So in a nutshell, it wants to enslave Ukraine. And we cannot agree to this in the 21st century. Russia will want to do that with other states if it defeats Ukraine.”

On his meetings with Emirati leaders about Ukraine:

“I gave them my testimony as a neighbor of Ukraine. I was saying, what is really happening there on the ground and how the situation looks from this very close perspective that we have. Russian propaganda distorts the reality.

I also expressed gratitude here in the Middle East and during my meetings; also here in the United Arab Emirates.  

I’m hugely grateful for the aid, for example $100 million was spent to date by the United Arab Emirates to purchase power generators. This is huge level of assistance. These are wonderful gestures from those who are able to support and I’m hugely grateful for those gestures and I thank, as the neighbor to Ukraine.” 

On his discussions with Iranian leaders about Russia:

“I personally talked to the president of Iran. I had appealed in that conversation not to sell armaments to Russia, not to support the Russian militarily, because Russia is the aggressor in Ukraine.  

But it is a fact that Iranian drones, Iranian drones are used to bombard by the Russians, to bombard the targets in Ukraine. And of course, we have to do everything to make sure that this process is stopped.”  

On what allies can and should do to stifle Russian aggression:

“It is Russia who is financing the war with this money. So, please, adopt a sanctions system, constrain it. These are our appeals.” 

On Poland’s ongoing military support for Ukraine:

“We are now supplying Ukraine with highly modernized post-Soviet tanks…Altogether, we are providing more than 50 tanks in this tranche for Ukraine.” 

On the current needs of the Ukrainian army:

“I believe that Ukraine will have its own army, and I’m sure that the armed forces will want to be up to the NATO standard. So the training of Ukrainian pilots is important and it is quite necessary.” 

“However, as far as I know, what is much more needed right now instantly by Ukraine is this long-range artillery in order to repel the enemy, to avoid direct clashes.” 

On what a peaceful resolution looks like for him:

“Russia must not emerge from this war with a conviction that it has won. If global peace is to be maintained, if the countries in central Europe and other countries which are exposed to Russian imperialism – if all of them are to have peaceful and secure lives, Russia has to emerge from this war as a state which has not won.” 

On Poland’s recent decision to increase defense spending:

“What is most important is to create the foundations for deterrence, and deterrence is possible only when we have our own, strong, functional and well-equipped forces. And that is what we are doing. In order to achieve that, unfortunately we have to spend more on defense, hence the decision.” 

On whether damage to the Nord Stream pipeline was pro-Ukrainian sabotage, as some have alleged:

“I don’t know whether you can say this is pro-Ukrainian sabotage. I would say the following: if Nord Stream stops existing, and if it is not possible to send gas from Russia in this way, this will be profitable for Europe. I’m sure this will be beneficial for western Europe, because, in a nutshell, who uses gas as a tool, simply wanted to dominate Europe, it wanted to make Europe dependent.” 

“I’m calmly waiting for the results of this investigation [into Nord Stream pipeline damage]. I hope that in the future we will find out who was responsible for this act.”