Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski voiced strong support for Ukraine in a speech in the neighboring country's parliament on April 9, urging Western nations to back Kyiv as it struggles against Russian interference.
Addressing the Verkhovna Rada in Kyiv, Komorowski said that Poland has "stretched out its hand to Ukraine and is doing everything -- and will do everything -- so that other states and peoples of the free Western world stretch their hands out to Ukraine as well."
"Poland's stretched hand is not just an indication of the current political trend but our understanding of the historic processes turning Ukraine into an equal and extremely important partner and neighbor," he said.
Without mentioning Russia by name, Komorowski pointed clearly at Moscow and stressed that the West must understand the importance of Ukraine's security.
"One cannot tolerate that the aggressor's soldiers, tanks, armored personnel carriers, and antiaircraft installations are present in Ukraine's east," he said, adding that "only the blind cannot see their lies today."
"The Western world has to realize that it can be safe only if Ukraine is safe," Komorowski said.
Kyiv and NATO say Russia has sent troops and weapons into Ukraine to support separatists whose conflict with government forces has killed more than 6,000 people since April 2014. Russia denies it.
The Polish president also said that European Union nations recognize Ukraine's territory in borders established by 1991, reiterating the EU's refusal to accept annexation of Ukraine's Crimea by Russia in March 2014.
"The changes of borders against the will of the Ukrainian nation will never be accepted by us and will always be condemned by us," Komorowski said.
Talking about the complicated history of ties between the Ukrainian and Polish peoples, Komorowski called on the two nations to choose "the path of forgiveness," saying that the issue of current Polish-Ukrainian ties "is not about the past, it is about the future."
"When Poles and Ukrainians stood against each other, somebody else, who wanted to deprive the two nations of their independence and freedom, always used that stand-off," Komorowski said.
He said he would visit Bykivnya, an area on the outskirts of Kyiv where thousands of people, including Polish officers killed by Soviet authorities in March-April 1940, are buried.
Komorowski added that Poland as an EU member will be supporting visa-free travel regulations for Ukrainian nationals.
Komorowski was on a two-day visit and met with President Petro Poroshenko on April 8.
On April 9, Komorowski and Poroshenko visited Bykivnya, an area on the outskirts of Kyiv where thousands of people, including Polish officers killed by Soviet authorities in March-April 1940, are buried.
Paying tribute to the victims of the Soviet regime, Komorowski said that "the commemoration of the victims of the past is one of the ways to prevent similar tragedies in future."
Poroshenko said that Bykivnya graves are "an echo of the black September of 1939 when Hitler and Stalin together ignited the bloody slaughter of the World War II, trying to share and break Europe."