Putin is a tyrant who wants to enslave Ukraine, Poland’s president says

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a press conference after the meeting of the State Council on youth policy in Moscow, Russia, December 22, 2022.

Serge Guneev | Sputnik | Reuters

Polish President Andrzej Duda criticized his Russian counterpart, saying that Vladimir Putin was behaving like a colonialist.

“Vladimir Putin wants to make Ukraine a slave, he wants to expand his regime throughout Ukraine, [to] take away the freedom of Ukrainians. Why? Because the Ukrainians decided they wanted to be part of the community of free nations. They want to be part of the European Union, they want to be part of NATO,” Duda told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.

Duda, one of Putin’s harshest critics and Ukraine’s most vocal ally, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February was prompted by Kiev and the Union republics. Other ex-Soviets are leaving “the former Soviet sphere of influence in favor of free, democratic countries.”

Polish President Andrzej Duda and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shake hands and hug during their press conference on August 23, 2022 in Kiev, Ukraine.

Alexey Furman | beautiful pictures

He said the “free world” – a Cold War term for Western democracies – must ask itself, “will we allow nations to enslave tyrants like Putin, those who deny all democratic rules, those who want to sow terror, those who try to enslave them?” others and exploit their potential for your own benefit? Or do we think that the free world can progress and every nation has the right to self-determination?”

“If that’s what we believe, we have to defend Ukraine,” he said.

Modern Russia and Poland share a turbulent history. Poland was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1939 and remained heavily influenced by the Soviet Union until 1989 — when a series of revolutions in Eastern Europe ended Communism and helped precipitate the breakup of the Soviet Union. Soviet Union in 1991.

‘Imperial, colonial goals’

Group membership Poland plays an important role in the NATO military alliance, effectively marking the eastern borders of NATO territory with Ukraine and Belarus. It is not immune to the effects of the Ukraine war, as millions of Ukrainian refugees crossed the border in search of refuge locally or towards Europe further afield. In November, a stray missile landed on Polish territory, killing two citizens.

The war in Ukraine has caused countries that were once within Russia’s sphere of influence – especially Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – to fear that Putin wants to recreate a Russian empire.

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Duda said Poland is “fully aware of the fact that these colonial, imperialist goals are re-emerging”, adding that Warsaw rejects any notion of belonging to “Russkiy mir” – a term The term means “Russian world” and refers to Russian cultural influence and the concept of “Russianness”.

“Russia is basically behaving like a colonial nation. They want to colonize others, take away their freedom, exploit their resources. They want to exploit their potential, their economic potential. , other people’s natural resources. Today, that’s what’s happening in Ukraine. It’s the same for other countries,” the Polish president said.

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Duda describes Russia as wanting to expand its sphere of influence over the centuries. “Poland has been divided for 123 years. Parts of Poland were under tsarist rule, so we were fully aware of what was going on. So that’s why that’s why. we defend ourselves. If someone says ‘Russkiy mir’ – ‘Russian World’ or ‘Peaceful Russia’ — we say absolutely no! Anything but Russia, anything but crime Russian influence.”

CNBC has reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment.


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