Poland called for a NATO “peace mission” in Ukraine

“That he is able to defend himself and that he is on Ukrainian territory with the agreement of the Ukrainian president and government,” Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski suggested

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Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski attends a joint meeting with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 15, 2022.  Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski attends a joint meeting with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 15, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

Poland calls for a NATO “peacekeeping mission”, “protected by the armed forces,” to help Ukraine, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski declared Tuesday night in Kiev.

“This mission cannot be an unarmed mission. It must try to provide humanitarian and peaceful aid to Ukraine,” said Kaczynski, quoted by the press agency PAP.

The official participated, along with the Polish, Czech and Slovenian prime ministers, in a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmygal. This is the first visit by foreign leaders to Kiev since the Russian attack began on 24 February.

“I think we need a NATO peace mission, or possibly a broader international structure, but a mission that is capable of defending itself and that is on Ukrainian territory, that is on Ukrainian territory with the agreement of the Ukrainian president and government, and that is not a defenseless mission,” he said.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa attend a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev, Ukraine, on March 15, 2022 (REUTERS)

On the other hand, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier on Tuesday that his country must accept that it will not become a member of NATO, one of the main reasons Russia used to justify its invasion.

“Ukraine is not a member of NATO. We understand. For years we have heard that the doors were open, but we have also heard that we could not unite. That is the truth and we must recognize it,” the president said in a videoconference with military officials. “I am glad that our people are beginning to understand it and to rely only on our own strength,” he said.

However, he regretted that NATO, “which seems mesmerized by Russian aggression”, refuses to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine. “We heard arguments that World War III could begin if NATO closes its space for Russian planes. That is why a humanitarian airzone has not been created over Ukraine, so Russians can bomb cities, hospitals and schools,” he said.

Zelensky had already made similar statements about NATO last week in an interview with American television ABC.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and since then has been carrying out a relentless offensive on this former Soviet republic. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he wants to be assured that Ukraine will never join NATO, a transatlantic military alliance created to protect Europe from the Soviet threat at the beginning of the Cold War and that it was later extended to Russia's doorstep.

With information from AFP

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