Ukraine crisis: Polish ambassador hails India’s efforts to end war

October 12, 2022 at 5:31 PM

India’s initiative to end the war in Ukraine is “highly appreciated” though Russia is “unwilling to listen to such voices”, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts will strengthen cooperation among democratic nations, Polish ambassador Adam Burakowski has said.

As an immediate neighbour of Ukraine, Poland has been at the forefront in providing humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine and more than 6.8 million people, 90% of them women and children, have come from Ukraine to Poland, Burakowski said in an exclusive interview.

The recent “sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines” should be seen in the “context of the Russian war and [President Vladimir] Putin’s determination to achieve success”, he said. “Trade in energy resources has become an area of energy war,” he added.

Asked what Poland made of the Indian Prime Minister’s call to the presidents of Russia and Ukraine to end the war and his offer to contribute to peace efforts, Burakowski replied: “It is important that Russia hear calls to end this war from multiple directions. The Indian initiative is highly appreciated – the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that ‘today’s era is not of war’ had a global echo. Unfortunately, Russia is still unwilling to listen to such voices.”

He added, “We also welcome the last telephone conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. On its back, cooperation among peaceful and democratic countries shall be strengthened.”

Modi told Putin at a bilateral meeting in Uzbekistan on September 16 that “today’s era is not of war” and nudged him to end the war in Ukraine in view of the concerns of developing countries over food and fuel security. In a phone conversation with Zelenskyy on October 4, Modi reiterated his call for cessation of hostilities and a return to dialogue and diplomacy. Modi said there can be “no military solution” and expressed India’s readiness to contribute to peace efforts.

Burakowski said since the war in Ukraine began on February 24, Poland has taken in 6.81 million people from Ukraine, 90% of them were women and children. “Over 1.23 million personal identification numbers have been issued to Ukrainian refugees planning a long-term stay in Poland,” he said.

Through public assistance expected to amount to €3.37 billion in 2022, refugees have access to social assistance and public services, especially healthcare and education. Poland ranks third among European countries providing the most bilateral aid to Ukraine as a share of their own GDP.

“The value of military equipment donated by Poland to Ukraine has exceeded €1.48 billion. Despite its relative size, Poland has provided Ukraine with more tanks and armoured personnel carriers than France and Germany combined,” he said.

Describing the incident last month involving the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines as an act of “sabotage”, Burakowski said the “explosions on both gas pipelines seem in line with the strategy of escalating gas relations with Europe, consistently implemented by Moscow for many months”. However, the breakdown of the pipelines won’t noticeably impact the European gas market and Poland has made “big progress” in the diversification of energy supplies, he said.

In the field of bilateral ties, Poland aims to promote new possibilities in IT and food processing. “Numerous B2B meetings are being organised…We also promote our education offer. There are several thousand Indian students in Poland and the number is growing, just as is the total number of NRIs in our country. I can tell you that in Warsaw alone, we already have 112 Indian restaurants!” he said.

“India is a focus country for Polish investors…Signing the EU-India free trade agreement will definitely have us see a growth spurt in Indo-Polish trade relations,” Burakowski said. (Hindustan Times)