New Czech President Petr Pavel ends a two-day visit to Poland, March 17, 2023, Warsaw. Welcome by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Warsaw – President Petr Pavel started the second and final day of his visit to Poland with a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. In Warsaw, he also plans to tour the center of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex. He will then fly to Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport, where he will visit the Polish and American logistics centers. Most of the Western, among other things, military aid flows to Ukraine from it.
Photo gallery: President Petr Pavel in Poland
Pavel arrived in Poland on Thursday. This is his second trip in office, the first was in Slovakia at the beginning of the week. In Warsaw, he has so far met with Polish President Andrzej Duda, with the presidents of both chambers of the Polish Parliament or with Czech compatriots.
Today, negotiations with Morawiecki continue. At the beginning of the meeting, the Polish Prime Minister noted that he was not sure whether Czech-Polish relations were better during the thousand-year history than they are today. He highlighted the role that both countries play together in supporting Ukraine. He also said that he still hopes for the revival of the Visegrad Group. Pavel criticized this in the past.
President Pavel met with Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki 17.03.2023, 09:44, author: Karel Čapek, source: ČTK/Video
The new Czech president noted that he was proud to have been able to come to Poland shortly after his inauguration and meet with the country's leading officials. He believes that Central and Eastern Europe is now in a crucial part of its history. According to him, the role of the region can grow not only with regard to supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression, but also due to the post-war reconstruction of the attacked country. According to him, the region can and should play a vital role in Ukraine's return to the family of democratic European nations, including strong support for Ukraine's membership in the EU and, once the conditions are met, possibly also in NATO.
On Thursday, Pavel told Czech journalists that he wanted to discuss in greater detail with Morawiecki the topics he had already discussed with Polish politicians at Thursday's meetings. In addition to helping Ukraine and its post-war reconstruction, they should probably also talk about transport projects connecting the Czech Republic and Poland or ensuring energy security.
Today, Pavel also has a visit to Frontex, which in cooperation with the security authorities of member countries supervise the surveillance of the external border of the European Union. In the afternoon, he will fly to Rzeszów, which became an important logistics center after the start of the war in Ukraine. Military and humanitarian aid is sent from Western countries to the local airport, which is then transported by land across the Polish-Ukrainian border. Pavel will return to the Czech Republic in the evening.
His wife Eva also flew to Poland with Pavel. He accompanies the president at some events, but partly has a different program. Today he will attend a visit to the Frontex agency, after which he will tour Warsaw's old town. In Rzeszów, while Pavel will be in the classified part of the base, the first lady will visit the Medevac Hub, which provides assistance to patients from Ukraine, and the center for assistance to refugees.
Pavel praised the decision of Warsaw and Bratislava to hand over MiG-29 fighter jets Kiev
During his visit to Poland, President Pavel praised the decision of Warsaw and Bratislava to provide Kyiv with their MiG-29 fighters. He stated that he believes that Ukraine can win a war against Russia.
“The MiG-29 continues to be considered a relatively good aircraft and seems to be the best aircraft for Ukraine because it is in their arsenal, they know how to handle it and they have the logistical background for him,” Pavel, who was previously the chief of the Czech General Staff and later headed the Military Committee of the North Atlantic Alliance, told Polish television TVN.
He emphasized that every element of military equipment is needed by Ukraine for effective defense and possible counter-offensive. “Certainly (the MiGs) will make a difference – and it's not so much the number that matters, but that every element makes a difference,” he said.
He reminded that Czech MiG-29s are now serving in Poland, where they arrived in the 1990s when they were exchanged for Polish helicopters. But the Czech Republic has provided Ukraine with combat and transport helicopters, as well as various armored vehicles, and is now working on the supply of anti-aircraft weapons and other munitions. “We are doing everything we can to provide Ukraine with as much of the necessary equipment as possible,” he assured.
Pavel believes that Ukraine can win the war against Russia. “We must do everything to help Ukraine achieve this goal,” he said. “I see an opportunity for this this year, next year it would be more difficult. There is war fatigue, which affects not only the warring countries, but also the states supporting Ukraine. It is becoming more and more difficult to maintain public support,” he stated.
< p>Without directly mentioning the name of his predecessor at the head of the state, Miloš Zeman, Pavel, in response to a question about Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's pro-Russian attitudes, stated that there used to be a politician with similar views in the Czech Republic, but he changed them sharply after Russia invaded Ukraine. “Viktor Orbán continues to defend Putin and his intentions. He is trying to convince us that the main threat is something else entirely, but I am convinced that Europe is now most threatened by Russia,” he said. According to him, Russia is playing the defender of values, but it is complete nonsense: “Anyone who looks at the quality of life in Russia immediately sees that this is not the right direction of development.”
To a question about Poles coming to the Czech Republic for abortions, which are effectively prohibited in Poland, Pavel replied: “For me, it's a matter of personal freedom. A woman has the right to decide for herself, and the country has the right to allow those involved to take the appropriate steps.” Due to “abortion tourism”, the Polish embassy protested two years ago and demanded that the Czech authorities do something about it, the TV station recalled.