Polish ambassador warns of a long war in Ukraine : NPR
Poland is bracing itself for a long war on its doorstep as the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches.
On February 24, 2022, Russian forces launched airstrikes and a ground invasion against Ukraine, escalating a conflict between the two nations that dates back to 2014. And as Russia is expected to launch a new offensive, there is no end in sight.
“I’m not very optimistic about the course of this war. I think it will be a protracted conflict, if not a frozen one,” Marek Magierowski, the Polish ambassador to the United States, told Steve Inskeep of Morning Edition.
Over the past year, Poland has become one of Ukraine’s most vocal supporters, calling on its European and NATO allies to provide more military support to Ukrainian forces.
The Polish Government is ready to help Ukraine for as long as it takes to resolve the conflict, but Magierowski made it clear that the country will not enter into a direct military conflict with Russia.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
About Poland’s leadership and increased support for Ukraine
I never expected the Polish government to push Germany to send tanks to Ukraine. Fortunately, however, those negotiations yielded a very positive outcome. I believe we must do our best to help the Ukrainians defend themselves and help them win this war. And that’s why I think the Ukrainians need a long-term commitment. And I’m not just talking about weapons, I’m not just talking about military assistance. I am also talking about our endorsement of Ukraine’s NATO and EU aspirations.
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About Ukrainian refugees in Poland
More than 9 million Ukrainian refugees have crossed the border with Poland. Of course, not all of them stayed in our country. Some of them emigrated to other countries in Europe, some of them returned to Ukraine. But approximately 1.5 million refugees remained in our country. They enjoy many benefits, […] and integrate seamlessly.
About why there was more political push on refugees from Middle Eastern countries
The Ukrainian refugees have a similar cultural background and a religious background as well, which is, I believe, of critical importance. They learn the language in about a month, and about 95% of those refugees are women and children, because we both know what Ukrainian men are doing right now. And those women upon arrival in Warsaw or Krakow or Gdansk. They never say, I want welfare. They never say, I want an allowance. I want the Polish authorities to take care of me and my family. They always say, I want a job.
About America’s role in European security
We have been trying for months to convince our American partners that we need a permanent presence on Polish soil. We need more US troops. This is a completely different role for Poland, which we are ready and willing to assume. And we believe, unlike some other politicians in Western Europe, that we still need America as a military hegemon in this part of the world, in Europe.
About Poland’s relationship with Russia
Russia has always been our neighbor. He is our neighbor and will remain so. It will not miraculously disappear in the foreseeable future. So we have to prepare. We must be prepared for any eventuality. Poland may be the next target, not for now, but if you look at the history of Russia and also at the history of the Soviet Union, this country is so unpredictable unpredictable, with unpredictable political leaders .
About Magierowski’s personal experience growing up in Poland
I was born under communism, and experienced the command economy and oppression. And then I lived under democracy and enjoyed freedom of expression. Capitalism, even wild capitalism in the early 90s. And now I can see the contrast between communist Poland and contemporary Poland. And I can also see the contrast between Soviet Russia and contemporary Russia. And believe me, that contrast is not that distinct since everything has not changed much, unfortunately, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The interview with ambassador Marek Magierowski was produced by Ziad Buchh. The digital version was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.