“I am grateful for the decision that was taken by the Polish government,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said about handing over a company of Leopard 2 tanks to his country at a joint conference on Wednesday. The presidents of Poland, Andrzej Duda, and of Lithuania, Gitanas Nausėda, visited Lviv on Wednesday. The three leaders signed the Joint Declaration of the Presidents of the Lublin Triangle.
– A company of Leopard 2 tanks will be handed over as part of coalition building. Because, as you know, a whole range of formal requirements, consents and so on must also be met, which are needed for this purpose, but above all we want it to be an international coalition – said President Duda at a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda after the summit of the Lublin Triangle.
– And we, within this international coalition, decided to transfer the first tank package, a company of Leopard 2 tanks, which, I hope, along with other Leopard tanks’ companies and others (tanks – ed.) that will be provided by other countries, will sail in soon to Ukraine and will be able to strengthen the defense of Ukraine. Such a decision has already been made in Poland, added the Polish president.
– I can say very important words for our defense, for our state, for our armed forces, for our common defense, for the defense of Ukraine and the whole of Europe. It’s a word: tanks. I am grateful for the decision taken by the government of the Republic of Poland – Volodymyr Zelensky began his speech, by addressing Andrzej Duda, who was standing next to him.
– I am grateful to the Lithuanians, I am directly grateful to you, Mr. President, for the decision to provide Ukraine with air defense systems that will strengthen the defense of our energy systems against Iranian drone attacks – the leader of Ukraine thanked Gitanas Nausėda, President of Lithuania.
“Ukraine is absolutely grateful for these decisions. It is really great that we are taking them in the format of the Lublin Triangle. This shows how important our meeting is, how important our cooperation is between our countries, real friends, and partners, stressed Zelensky.
– On behalf of the Ukrainian people, I am grateful to the Polish and Lithuanian peoples for having shown their readiness to stand by our side on the road to victory. Together we will secure this victory as brothers, as allies, as the entire free world.”
President Zelensky said that today’s meeting focused a lot of attention on Ukraine’s integration with the European Union and NATO. – We are preparing for the Ukraine-EU summit, we are preparing for further negotiations on Ukraine’s membership. I hope it will happen this year,” he said.
– We meet once again in Ukraine, the three of us. Just like we met in December 2021 in Huta, in the Carpathians, in the Ivano-Frankivsk region. We met just a few hours before the Russian aggression against Ukraine in Kiev, when we came to support President Volodymyr Zelensky, our friend, but also to support the entire Ukrainian nation and Ukraine in this extremely difficult situation, so we are here in Ukraine again today – said Andrzej Duda.
At the Wednesday conference in Lviv, the Polish president mentioned the most important topics discussed during the talks between the leaders of the three countries. One of them was the issue of direct support, mainly the military. – Poland has played a very active role here from the very beginning. We were the first state that actually provided Ukraine with spectacular assistance at that time, he stressed.
Duda outlined that Poland, from the start of the Russian invasion, provided Ukraine with 240 tanks, millions of rounds of ammunition, Grot carbines, Krab cannon-howitzers, and Piorun anti-aircraft launchers, among other weapons.
– We support Ukraine and we will continue to provide it with weapons, also as part of the modernization of the Polish army, which has recently accelerated significantly – assured the president.
The leader of Ukraine announced that his country hopes to reach an agreement and “joint decisions” of those countries that are still considering the transfer of tanks. According to Zelensky, a single country is not able to provide such a number to guarantee Ukraine’s victory.
– In the 21st century, a European state such as Ukraine, which is independent and sovereign, is brutally attacked in order to deprive people of their freedom. This aggression must stop. This is one of the greatest challenges that the entire free world has faced in recent decades, said Andrzej Duda.
Meeting of Andrzej Duda with Volodymyr Zelensky in Lviv
Duda and Nauseda arrived in Lviv on Wednesday. Earlier, the media reported that Zelensky came to the city on a working visit. Its purpose was to talk about security in the north-western part of the country, i.e. threat of an attack from the Belarusian direction.
“As for the situation on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, there are only threats for now,” the Ukrainian president said.
“We don’t see anything powerful there, other than strong declarations, but we should be prepared,” Zelensky said.
Recently, there have been more and more indications that the Russians may attack from the territory of Belarus, and that the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka may even enter the war. According to the announcements of the defense minister from Minsk, the air forces of both countries are to hold joint exercises from January 16 to February 1.
Duda and Zelensky also visited the Cemetery of the Lwów Eaglets – Cemetery of the Defenders of Lwów, a memorial and a burial place for the Poles and their allies who died in Lwów (Ukrainian: Lviv) during the hostilities of the Polish-Ukrainian War and Polish-Soviet War between 1918 and 1920.
The Lublin Triangle
The Lublin Triangle is a format of trilateral cooperation between Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine. It was established in 2020 and its goal is to deepen political, economic and social cooperation between these countries and to support Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
Recent developments indicate that the Russians may launch an attack from Belarus, and that the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka may even join the conflict. According to the defense minister’s announcements in Minsk, the air forces of both nations will conduct joint exercises from January 16 to February 1.