Duda had said on Friday that he did not know if Ukraine would “regain Crimea,” adding that the Crimean peninsula, which Russia seized in 2014, “is a special place … because in fact, if we look historically, it was in Russia’s hands for most of the time.”
The remarks drew strong criticism as Warsaw has been one of Kyiv’s most vocal supporters since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Poland has maintained Ukraine must regain control over all of its territory.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Poland Vasyl Zvarych said that “Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea is a war crime for which it will be punished. The liberation of Crimea is a shared task for us and the free world. There is no doubt that we will achieve it.”
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, a member of the new pro-European governing coalition that is opposing Duda, said Warsaw “recognizes the independence of Ukraine within its internationally established borders.”
Lawmaker Roman Giertych, from the largest grouping in the government, Civic Coalition, dismissed Duda’s earlier remarks as “incredibly stupid.”
“I would like to remind Mr. Duda that there are cities in our country that in their history belonged to Poland for a shorter time than to another country,” Giertych said on X.