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Feb 21, 2024

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Poland’s Ukrainian Connection

Compiled by Robert Strybel
Warsaw Correspondent

Moscow halts gas exports to Poland but Poles can manage
When Russian natural gas giant Gazprom demanded payment in rubles in violation of its contract with Poland, Warsaw refused, and the very next day the gas stopped flowing to Poland. We have been preparing for this for years,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki replied, He recalled that that Poland had built a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the northwestern port of Świnoujście, while a new Baltic Pipe pipeline will start delivering gas from Norway in October.
Poland can also source gas from the Germany, the Czech Republic and Lithuania via inter-connectors. Warsaw did not plan to renew its Gazprom contract which expires later this year. “We will achieve full gas sovereignty this year, so Russian  blackmail won’t have any effect on Poland whatsoever.”  Morawiecki told parliament.

Germany to buy oil from Poland, decrease reliance on Russia
Gazprom’s abrupt halt of gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria seems to have jolted Germany into rethinking its traditional reliance on Moscow. It has signed a deal to buy oil from Poland in an effort to shake off its dependence on Russian energy supplies, Poland’s Niezależna news site reported, Earlier this year, Warsaw began importing crude oil from Saudi Arabia and is now able to sell any surplus it does not need. Up till now, Germany had ignored Poland’s’ repeated warnings about the dangers of total reliance on Russian fuels and the need to diversify energy sources.

Ukraine has the right to attack Russian territory – UK defense official
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Armed Forces Minister James Heappey has revealed Britain’s increasingly tough stand against Russian aggression.  Heappey recently stated that it was “completely legitimate” for Ukraine to attack Russian territory. “Ukraine was justified in seeking to disrupt Russian supplies. In war, Ukraine needs to strike into its opponents’ depth to attack its logistics lines, its fuel supplies, its ammunition depots, and that’s part of it,” he told Britain’s Times Radio. He added that UK-supplied weapons had the range needed to reach targets in Russian territory. But he dismissed as “rubbish” Russia’s claim that NATO was waging a proxy war and increasing the risk of nuclear conflict. war. Kyiv holds that whenever Russia miscalculates or suffers a defeat, it invariably trots out its nuclear and World War III scarecrow. Aside from Poland, the UK is probably Europe’s most committed Ukrainian ally

Senior US officials visit Ukraine and Poland
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III are the highest-level US government officials to visit Ukraine since Putin unleashed his terrorist war on that country. Due to security concerns, it had been kept under wraps as a clandestine mission, but a day before their arrival Ukrainian President mentioned the visit at a news conference. They had travelled to Kyiv from Poland by train and returned the same way. Back in Poland, the US cabinet members
promised to boost military aid to Eastern Europe by another $700 million, That would include money to help countries in the region support Ukraine with guns, ammunition and the heavy weaponry that Ukraine desperately needed. “Those big guns from the US are already arriving” Austin added. He also redefined America’s goals for Ukraine when he said: “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine. It has already lost a lot of military capability and a lot of its troops.”

Serious weaponry finally reaching embattled Ukraine
After weeks of succumbing to Russia’s World War III and nuclear  threats and giving Ukraine  mostly token military support, the West has finally begun sending more heavy weaponry which Kyiv desperately needs.
In addition to the $3 billion it has already provided, the US recently added another $350 million worth of military equipment, and Britain  is ready to provide additional military support, including lethal defensive weapons.  Belgium. which  had already provided  automatic arms, anti-tank weapons and 3,800 tons of fuel to Ukraine is now sending heavy combat vehicles and artillery. The neighboring Netherlands are also dispatching heavy weaponry. France is providing defensive weapons to Kyiv which in particular had requested anti-aircraft hardware. The Czech Republic  is delivering 30,000 pistols, 7,000 assault rifles, 3,000 machine guns, several dozen sniper guns and about a million cartridges. Poland has provided is a variety of military hardware including tanks and has triggered Moscow’s ire as a gateway for Western weaponry destined for Ukraine. Even foot-dragging Germany has agreed to dispatch stinger missiles and a few of its Gepard armored, anti-aircraft fighting vehicles,

Kherson residents flee ahead of sham referendum
A steady flow of people are making their way across fields and rivers of the countryside around the south Ukrainian city of Kherson. They travel on foot and bicycle, desperate to leave behind the Russian-occupied hometown,  e. The refugees breathe a sigh of relief only after reaching a safer part of the country. They refuse to be quoted by name or photographed for fear that might endanger their loved ones still in Kherson, but they readily describe the horrors they have experienced at the hands of Putin’s henchmen. They want no part of the sham referendum the Russians are planning in which voters will allegedly vote to become the Kherson People’s Republic, a Russian puppet regime. Putin is obviously emulating his hero Stalin whose sham 1939 referendum showed that the eastern half of Poland he annexed in collusion with Hitler had voted to become Soviet republics.

Mysterious blazes hit army facilities in Russia – Ukrainian adviser
Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksy Arestovich believes unexplained fires breaking out at military faculties in Russian cities may indicate the start of  guerrilla warfare, “In addition to the blaze that destroyed a fuel depot in Briansk,  fires have been breaking out at Russian recruiting centers, army offices, military academies. army warehouses, rail lines and even some gubernatorial residences,” he was quoted by Ukraine’s Unian Information Agency as saying. “A blaze also broke out at a  military base in Ussuriysk, I don’t know what is happening in Russia, but my impression is that this could be the start of a partisan war.” The reports infuriated Putin’s Kremlin, but Ukraine has denied any involvement in the incidents.

Putin hails launch of US-reaching ICBM
Vladimir Putin said the successful launch of the Sarmat ICBM –  nicknamed the “Satan II” in the West and capable of delivering multiple nuclear warheads as far as the continental United States – would “give thought to those who are trying to threaten Russia.
But Western experts portrayed the test as “nuclear saber-rattling,” saying the threat to the US or its allies was “extremely low.” They feel that Putin’s real motivation was to distract his domestic audience from Russia’s recent military failures, such as the sinking of its Black Sea flagship  Moskva. The Russian Defense Ministry said it had test-fired the Sarmat from a silo launcher at the Plesetsk State Test Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region of northern Russia toward a test site on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far east.

UN suspends Russia from Human Rights Council
The United Nations General Assembly has voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council. The voting result: in favor 93; against 24; abstained 58. In a draft of the resolution, the UN said the General Assembly would “suspend the rights of membership in the Human Rights Council of a member of the Council that commits gross and systematic violations of human rights.” During their terrorist invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops have been widely accused of murdering civilians, raping women and children, destroying civilian infrastructure and plundering official buildings, businesses and private homes. The war crimes and genocide are hotly denied by the Kremlin which claims that Russia is only defending itself against Ukrainian threats to its security.

Polish Fly-Eye drones help Ukraine locate Russian targets
Produced by a Polish company known as the WB Group, the Fly-Eye reconnaissance drones
are very precise in locating and identifying a tank, a missile launcher, or even a single personnel carrier, the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita reported recently. The drone passes the enemy’s coordinates to anti-tank missile operators in real time, Rzeczpospolita quoted the company’s co-founder as saying. The Fly-Eyes fly for some 250 hours every single day in very difficult conditions. Besides drones, WB Group has also equipped the Ukrainian army with remote-controlled missiles.

Only a real embargo on Russian energy could stop the war
Dictator Putin’s former chief economic adviser has suggested that only a hard-hitting embargo on Russian fuels could curb Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. “Russia did not take seriously other countries’ threats to reduce their energy usage.” Dr Andrei Illarionov said. “Although trying to reduce reliance on Russia, Europe continues to buy its oil and gas.  Last year, soaring prices saw oil and gas revenues accounting for 36% of Russia’s government spending. Much of that income comes from the European Union, which imports about 40% of its gas from Russia. According to the European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell, “a billion euros ($1.06) a day is what we pay Putin for  energy he supplies us with.”.

Warsaw authorities confiscate Russian housing complex
Municipal authorities in Poland’s capital Warsaw have confiscated a housing complex controlled by the Russian embassy and plan to it over to refugees from Ukraine, according to officials. “We are seizing the so-called Szpiegowo (Spy Town) and we’ll be seeking to hand it over to our Ukrainian guests,” Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski told the media. Addressing a news conference outside the property on Warsaw’s Sobieskiego Street, Trzaskowski said: “I’m pleased that we are able to demonstrate in such a symbolic way that Warsaw is helping our Ukrainian friends.” Not long ago, Poland expelled 45 Russian intelligence officers posing as diplomats who were engaging in espionage in the EU country. “Poland has expelled 45 Russian spies pretending to be diplomats, We are now dismantling the Russian special services network in our country” Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński explained when announcing the decision.

Russian demonstrators in Germany support Putin
Demonstrations in support of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine have taken place in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hanover and other German cities. Polish TV showed a motorcade in Berlin with Russian flags or the “Z” symbol of support for Moscow’s assault on its southern neighbor. In the central city of Frankfurt am Main. the German tabloid Bild reported demonstrators  denying Russia’s guilt of war crimes in Ukraine. They claimed   scenes of atrocities had been “stage-directed” by Ukraine which they do not regard as an independent country. Protesters marched on foot after local authorities banned a pro-Kremlin motorcade, “None of us supports violence and hatred, but after what happened in Ukraine, many regard us as aggressors.” the organizers said: “We don’t want to be scared and ashamed of having Russian blood.

British foreign secretary praises Poland for aid to Ukraine
During a visit to Warsaw, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that Poland had always been right about Russia’s aggressive intentions and pledged more efforts to strengthen NATO’S eastern flank. “
Poland has always been clear-eyed about Russia,” she said at a joint press conference with her Polish counterpart, Zbigniew Rau. “You have understood Putin’s malign intent. You were right,” she added. According to Truss, the sanctions the West has imposed on Russia will “push the Russian economy back to the Soviet era.” She said that she would urge our NATO and G7 partners to go further in sanctions. That should include “banning Russian ships from our ports, cracking down on more Russian banks, going after industries that are filling Putin’s war chest, like gold, and agreeing a clear timetable to eliminate imports of Russian oil, coal and gas,” Truss said.  Next to Poladn, Britain is probably Europe’s  most pro-Ukrainian country.

Thousands of Catholic clergy and religious remain on duty in Ukraine
Over 6,000 Catholic priests a,d nuns, many of them from Poland, have stayed in Ukraine to provide shelter and food, treat the wounded, provide spiritual support and administer the sacraments. Some people have gone to confession for the first time, to be prepared for death. Some have come to be baptized and make their First Holy Communion before going to war,. Thousands have taken refuge on seminary grounds. Nearly a thousand convents and nuns’ houses  in Poland and 98 in Ukraine help those displaced by the war. “During the daytime and at night explosions and shelling can be heard. In recent days the occupiers have concentrated mainly on residential buildings in which there are civilians. One shell hit the residence of the Bishop of Kharkiv, but no one was injured,” Father Wojciech Stasiewicz from Lublin remarked. Assigned to the Diocese of Kharkiv, he added: “As long as I live, I will never forget Russia’s attack on Ukraine.”

Justice for victims of Russia’s Katyń and Putin’s terrorism
Poland will seek justice via international tribunals for the 1940 Katyń Massacre, at which the Soviets murdered some 22,000 Polish army officers and intellectuals, Polish President Andrzej Duda said in a televised address recently. “We will also lend support to Ukraine in all legal and diplomatic efforts to punish the perpetrators of the crimes which are now being committed by Russians,” he added. Similarities between the two acts of genocide have not gone unnoticed. Both in 1940 and in 2022, many victims have had their hands tied behind their backs and were shot in the head.

Poland’s planned mega-airport “just what NATO needs”
A major air hub planned in Poland could double as a key facility for NATO’s eastern flank, noted ex-commander of US Forces in Europe, Lt-Gen. Ben Hodges. The new Polish air hub will be located in the municipality of Baranów, 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) west of Warsaw, The mega-airport, with an initial capacity of 45 million civilian passengers a year, is expected to be built by 2027. The hub will serve not only Poles but also people from neighboring countries that do not operate their own long-distance airlines. Due to the accompanying, integrated air, rail and road links being planned, Hodges feels that in emergencies it could facilitate the transfer and deployment of NATO troops.

PAC holds fundraiser to aid embattled Ukraine, refugees
The Polish American Congress held a three-day Radiothon fundraiser, live-streamed internationally on WPNA FM radio in Chicago, The first of a series of successive Radiothons benefiting Ukraine and its refugees fleeing to Poland raised over $225,000. The funds are evenly divided between a Ukrainian Humanitarian Organization and the Polish Red Cross. The Polish American Congress is a National Umbrella Organization, representing some 10 million  Polish Americans. Its membership includes  fraternal, educational, veterans, religious and cultural organizations as well as private individuals.

Sean Penn wants private sector to sponsor fighter planes for Ukraine
Hollywood actor Sean Penn has called on private-sector buyers to buy two squadrons of F-15 or F-16 aircraft  for Ukraine. He says “they’ve got better tech than Russian Migs or SUs.” In a tweet published on the actor’s Twitter account, he estimated that the aircraft together with a missile defense system would cost private sector buyers approximately $500 million, Last month, Penn found himself amongst thousands of refugees entering Poland on foot from Ukraine. Penn had been in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv to film scenes of destruction for a documentary he is preparing on the Russians invasion.

Baker from Poland bakes bread for Ukrainian soldiers and civilians
Jacek Polewski, a baker and owner of the Czarny chleb (Black Bread) bakery in Poznań, decided to travel to Bucha, Ukraine, a town scarred by a Russian frenzy of murder and destruction. With most Ukrainian males defending their country against the Russian invaders, food supplies have become a problem in many areas. Polewski had been in Bucha before the invasion, so media reports of the town’s humanitarian tragedy struck a respondent chord. He packed his grown son, a friend and half a ton of flour into a van and head east. When they arrived in Bucha, the Poles first faced a gigantic clean-up and renovation of the local bakery which had been severely damaged and looted by the Russians.