The Royal Castle in Warsaw
February 21, 2023
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank you very much for your welcome, and I extend an equally warm welcome to you. I am delighted that we have been able to meet under these exceptional circumstances in this exceptional place. Exceptional circumstances, because of the visit to our country, to Poland, of the President of the United States of America, Mr Joe Biden, who has come to us directly from Kyiv, which is plunged into the darkness of Russian aggression and which, like the whole of Ukraine, is being heroically defended today by our neighbours, the Ukrainians, defenders of their homeland.
We are meeting in an extraordinary place: in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, at the feet of the Royal Castle, a symbol of the splendour of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, a symbol of the splendour of Poland in the 17th and 18th centuries. The feet of the Castle where the Polish Sejm convened, at the Castle where the Constitution of 3 May 1791 was adopted – the first in Europe and the second in the world after the American one – which made a ground–breaking contribution to the development of the free world, our present civilisation.
It is a symbol of the Second Republic of Poland, which was demolished and burnt down during the Second World War before the eyes of the entire world. Later, under German occupation, it lay in ruins. It was here that the Warsaw insurgents died fighting the hated occupier. And then, after the Second World War, when we found ourselves in the Soviet sphere of influence, after decades of efforts, it was rebuilt by the whole nation, so that it could stand again and become a symbol of a reborn Poland.
I say this because today we see a Ukraine in flames. We see cities in flames, we hear the terrible news of Russian terror, we see people killed, murdered, we see housing estates destroyed – images closely resembling those of the Second World War. Something that should never happen again in Europe is now a terrible experience of our neighbours. Because Russia wants to become an empire again, to fulfil its ambition to enslave other nations. There is no consent to this from us, there is no consent from the free world!
The President of the United States, the leader of the free world, Joe Biden, made a spectacular gesture. Yesterday morning, against all expectations, he stood in Kyiv, on Ukrainian soil – at open war. He showed that the free world and its leader fear nothing. He showed that Ukraine is not alone, that it has the support of the most powerful country in the world and the most powerful army in the world. That it has the support of the North Atlantic Alliance and that this support is solid and will not waver. This is a great sign. We are all with Ukraine all the time – from the very beginning.
On 23 February, the day before the Russian aggression against Ukraine a year ago, I was in Kyiv with the President of neighbouring Lithuania, Gitanas Nausėda, and we spoke to President Volodymyr Zelenski. Volodymyr told us: „We will defend ourselves. Putin thinks that we will surrender immediately, that he will control Ukraine, that he will occupy our country, that he will seize our land. We will fight until we die, until we fall. We will not surrender.” Literally a few hours after, Russian missiles started falling on Ukraine as the Russian full–scale invasion began. Everybody thought that Ukraine would fall in a matter of three days, in 72 hours.
Ukraine has not fallen to this day, thanks to the heroism of the defenders of Ukraine, thanks to the heroism of the Ukrainian soldiers, but also thanks to the support given to Ukraine by the free world so that an imperial ambition to enslave other nations is punished and can never rear its ugly head. And that is why we are all saying today: Ukraine must win! That is why we support Ukraine. I thank the United States, I thank all the NATO countries that are sending aid to Ukraine. Not only humanitarian aid, but also military aid. That is extremely important.
But I also thank the United States and our Allies for strengthening our security – NATO’s eastern flank – so that nobody would even think of attacking our land. That thanks to the presence of the American army, thanks to the presence of the Allied armies, thanks to the wise policy of strengthening the Polish army in recent years, we are becoming increasingly secure, we are becoming increasingly confident about our own security. And we are making potential aggressors less and less confident.
I believe that this brutal Russian certainty will be punished and crushed in Ukraine; that Russia will have to leave Ukrainian soil – the land it occupies – in a sense of shame; that Ukraine will be victorious; that the defenders of Ukraine will be victorious; that this bloodshed, this terrible sacrifice that the Ukrainian people are making, will lead to a great victory.
We Poles have the experience of helping each other. „One and another in community,” said the Holy Father John Paul II, our Pope Karol Wojtyla, about solidarity, “Solidarity means one and another, in community,” he said, „it is never one against another.” Solidarity is our great achievement – that movement of ten million people who, with the support of the Holy Father and the United States, the free world, broke communism, thanks to which we came out from behind the Iron Curtain.
It is this reflex of human solidarity that today leads my compatriots to help their Ukrainian neighbours. Thank you once again for opening your homes and reaching out your hands with bread to those in need, for having them with us today and for the fact that many of them feel at home here, as they say. That they feel gratitude for being welcome here, even though millions of them have come to us, even though two million of them now live with us all the time – even though no one expected it. We have shared with them in fraternity, in solidarity. This is the solidarity of today’s world. Solidarity with Ukraine.
I call on all the leaders of European countries, of the North Atlantic Alliance, to show solidarity with Ukraine, to support Ukraine all the time, to send military support to Ukraine, so that the defenders of Ukraine have arms to fight with. Do not hesitate! Do not be afraid! There is no more room for business as usual with Russia. Where blood is shed, an honest man does not do business. Bloodshed must be stopped at all costs. Today, the only way to stem it is with modern weapons because that is what Ukraine needs.
I thank President Joe Biden for his extraordinary courage, for his determination. I thank the American people, I thank the authorities of the United States, the Congress for all the donations to Ukraine, for the great support for Ukraine. For the fact that, thanks to this immense military aid from the United States, Ukraine is fighting, and others are supporting it. Because that is the role of NATO – to defend the free world, to support the free world.
We are and will stand in solidarity with Ukraine. Without solidarity there is no freedom!
Long live a free Ukraine! Long live the Alliance of the Republic of Poland with the United States of America! Long live NATO! Long live the free world! Long live Poland! There is no freedom without solidarity!