“From a historical perspective” – the Polish president draws criticism with his statement on Crimea
Crimea was a special place because it was “mostly in Russian hands”: with this statement, Polish President Andrzej Duda caused discontent in Ukraine. Whether the recapture of the peninsula would be successful is “difficult to answer”.
DPolish President Andrzej Duda has expressed doubts that Ukraine will be able to retake the Crimean peninsula occupied by Russia. In an interview on YouTube on Friday evening, Duda reiterated Poland's official position that Ukraine should regain control of its entire territory. However, when asked if he believed that Ukraine could actually do this, he replied: “It is difficult for me to answer this question.” He doesn't know. Crimea, occupied by Russia in 2014, is a special place. “After all, historically speaking, it was mostly in Russian hands.” Duda's comments sparked criticism from Ukraine on Saturday.
The Ukrainian ambassador to Poland, Vasyl Svarych, wrote on Platform X that Crimea is part of Ukraine and will remain so. Ending the occupation of Crimea is the common task and duty of the free world. Ukraine has repeatedly said it wants to reclaim all of its territory, including Crimea, in a war against Russia.
Duda, who is close to the national conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, has also come under pressure domestically over his statements. Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski stressed that his country recognizes Ukraine's independence within internationally established borders. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Poland has been one of the staunch supporters of the government in Kiev.
Roman Gierdych, a member of the liberal-conservative Citizens Alliance (KO), the largest coalition partner in the current Warsaw government, said Poland has more cities owned by Poland for a shorter period of time than any other country.
PiS defends MP Duda
Duda received support from the PiS camp. PiS parliamentarian Radosław Fogiel also wrote that the president's criticism was baseless
Duda said he did not know if Ukraine would retake Crimea. “But I believe he will recapture Donetsk and Luhansk,” the president added. Parts of two eastern Ukrainian regions, such as Crimea, were seized by pro-Russian forces in 2014. Unlike Crimea, where heavy fighting is currently taking place.