Ukraine’s Ambassador speaks of the situation with Poland’s support to Ukraine on the international level and calls upon Ukrainian organize their to legal stays in Poland.
Poland and Ukraine continue active cooperation. Poland stands for sanctions against Russia, restoration of territorial integrity of Ukraine, prompt completion of ratification of EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and visa-free regime for Ukraine.
“Previous and acting Polish Government have a clear understanding that Ukrainian-Polish cooperation is a basis for stability in the region, stability both in Poland and in Ukraine, and, perhaps, even for stability in Europe. […] We are very grateful for standing strong for Ukraine on these key issues,” said Andriy Deschytsia, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Poland at a Skype press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
On December 2 Petro Poroshenko will arrive to Poland with an official visit on the occasion of 25th anniversary of recognition of Ukraine’s Independence by Poland and diplomatic relations between the countries. In the course of the visit, Ukrainian President will have meetings with the President and Prime Minister of Poland as well as Sejm representatives. In addition, a conference in honor of Holodomor victims will be held in Warsaw on Thursday. It is organized by the Sejm and the Embassy of Ukraine to Poland.
Andriy Deschytsia also said that Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Ukraine and Republic of Poland will hold a meeting in Lviv. “This is a good signal that we are able to have discussion, to communicate and to make common decisions, despite the fact that both sides still have different vision of our common history related to the Volyn tragedy,” he emphasized.
Conclusions on Volyn tragedy should be left to historians
According to Andriy Deschytsia, Polish Sejm resolution to recognize the Volyn tragedy of 1943-44 as genocide of Polish people and presentation of film “Volyn” have brought a certain dissonance in Ukrainian-Polish relations. In his opinion, this decision should be considered “as a political declaration, in addition unilateral declaration. Ukrainian parliamentarians have suggested many times that a common document should be adopted to give an estimate to those events of WW II. In addition, not only Poles and Ukrainian suffered, but also Jews and Czechs who lived there,” he emphasized.
According to him, the response of the Ukrainian Parliament was just and well-balanced. In his opinion, only common work on the archives would help to come to reconciliation, and it is up to historians, not to politicians, to draw conclusions on what has happened.
Last week Center of Ukrainian Culture and Development was opened in Wrocław, with suppport of the General Consulate in Krakow, the Honorary Consulate in Wrocław and Ukrainian diaspora organizations. „We need centers like this to involve in active coopertaion with the Embassy and to promote various cultural initiatives,” he noted.
Last week, Ukrainian Culture Week took place in Gdansk. The events were organized by Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre with support of the Consulate. Yevhen Nyschuk, Minsiter of Culture of Ukraine, played in one of these performances. At present, Days of Ukraine are held in Liublin.
According to Andriy Deschytsia, there is a lot of grassroots cultural initiatives, only funding appears as an obstacle.
Countering information war
According to the Ukrainian Ambassador, Poland takes seriously potential threat from the Russian Federation. For instance, the country decided to deploy NATO units on its territory. In addition, cases were filed against some Polish politicians who had made anti-Polish statements in their speeches, incited ethnic hatred or questioned decisions of national institutions.
Deschytsia claims there is a lot of high-quality material on Russia’s real policy towards Poland, Ukraine and the EU in Polish news space, and there is interest to this issue in the society. Russian TV channels are available via cable. However, the amount of spectators is unknown just as whether they believe what they hear there.
There is probability that repeated acts of vandalism against memorials to Ukrainian Insurgent Army soldiers in Polish cemeteries is one more dimension of Russia’s information war. “I suppose this was done by Russian special services to incite hostility between Poles and Ukrainians,” said Ambassador Deschytsia. “We always express our concern with acts of vandalism to with diplomatic notes to the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. First of all, we aim to find and punish the guilty and to prevent incidents like this in the future. Otherwise the same response could start in Ukraine. Should it happen, we would find ourselves unable to stop it,” he stressed.
Ukraine in Polish mass media
There is quite a lot of information about Ukraine in Polish media. Many of them have their own reporters in Ukraine, and there is many Ukrainian journalists working for Polish media. However, says Andriy Deschytsia, this is not enough and suggest launching an extra channel about Ukraine. It would include “promotion of the country, attraction of investments, promotion of contemporary Ukrainian culture and support to Ukrainian students”.
It is quite up-to-date as there is a lot of Ukrainians who temporarily live in Poland. There are approximately 28 thousands students and nearly one billion of migrant workers. According to the Ambassador, there are no any conflicts among them and the Poles on ethnic or social grounds.
Situation of migrant workers
According to Andriy Deschytsia, absolute majority of Ukrainians live and work in Poland legally. But, of course, there are tricks to get the legal working permit. “The number of applications to the Migration Service is now higher, than ever before. Nearly half of them are submitted by Ukrainians,” said Andriy Deschytsia. “I call on our citizens to live in Poland legally and to work legally. If they do, there are all grounds to protect their rights,” he added.
The press-briefing was held in the framework of UCMC and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine project “Diplomacy without borders”.