Polish president said it’s ‘hard to deny’ genocide in Ukraine after images of civilians killed emerge

“It’s hard to deny this, of course. This is a crime that meets the hallmarks of genocide, especially if you look at the context of the different conversations that are taking place,” Duda told CNN’s Dana Bash in an exclusive interview in Warsaw. , Poland.

Duda said Russian propaganda about Moscow’s goal of “denazification” of Ukraine shows that the country was looking for a false pretext “to carry out a massacre.”

“The fact that the civilian inhabitants of Ukraine are being killed shows better what is the goal of [the] The Russian invasion is,” he said through a translator. “The goal of that invasion is simply to extinguish the Ukrainian nation.”

Duda, who was first elected president of Poland in 2015 and has served in three US administrations, leads the country as it plays a key role in supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia, is dealing with the influx of Ukrainian refugees and is pushing for more sanctions. in Russia and is supplying weapons to Ukraine.

Millions of Ukrainians have fled across the country’s border into Poland. As a member of the NATO alliance, Poland has been one of the countries where US and NATO troops have been deployed to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank as a deterrent to Russia.

There have also been some challenges. Ukraine sought Poland’s MiG-29 fighter jets to help in its fight against Russia, but the effort to get the planes to Ukraine failed after Poland publicly proposed providing them to the US through a German air base for send them to Ukraine. The United States said such a plan was not feasible and the planes were not sent.

In the interview, Duda questioned the usefulness of diplomatic efforts with Russia at this point in the conflict. He said he was not surprised by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s criticism this week of French President Emmanuel Macron, when Morawiecki said: “No one negotiated with Hitler.”

“Dialogue with Russia is meaningless,” Duda said. “One has to present very harsh conditions to Vladimir Putin. One has to say: ‘Unless he meets these conditions, we have nothing to talk about.’ We are going to provide support to Ukraine in a decisive way, we are going to increase the sanctions regime, because if you carry out a dialogue that does not achieve anything, it is just a game to buy time on the part of Russia.”

As part of those conditions, Duda called for additional sanctions against Russia and its energy sector, lamenting Europe’s dependence on Russian energy that has continued even as crippling sanctions have been enacted in other sectors.

“The sanctions regime should be strengthened. I have no doubts about that,” Duda said. “This is, of course, a very complex task… However, the problem is that for some countries, well, this is fundamental for them.”

Duda noted that Poland opposed the creation of gas pipelines between Russia and Germany, saying they were “political projects” designed to bypass Poland and the Baltic states. He called for the dismantling of the new Nord Stream II pipeline.

“Russia is blackmailing not only Germany, right now, Russia is blackmailing, in fact, the whole of Europe,” Duda said. “The fact that we are saying that it is impossible to put an embargo on Russian gas, it is not possible to put an embargo on Russian oil right away.”

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