Polish, Lithuanian presidents agree to maintain sanctions on Russia

We both agree that sanctions imposed on Russia should be maintained, as there is nothing worse than changing borders in modern Europe by force, said President Andrzej Duda in Vilnius on Thursday after meeting with his Lithuanian counterpart Gitanas Nausėda.

President Duda was referring to the situation in Ukraine. He stressed that the stance was related to the ongoing Russian occupation of Ukrainian land, namely Crimea, Lugansk and Donetsk.

"This is a situation that none of us in today's Europe can give up on(...) There is nothing worse than changing borders in modern Europe by force, and it is something that happened in 2008 [conflict in Georgia - ed.] and is happening in Europe once again and we absolutely cannot give our consent or even tacit approval "- he added.

Matters such as the joint infrastructure investments, energy cooperation, security issues and military partnership were also on the agenda.

“We still treat the NATO alliance as our top security guarantee,” said Mr Nausėda, adding that during the meeting he and President Duda found “a lot of shared views on different issues”.

Cohesion policy funds should not be depleted

Another topic discussed by the Polish and Lithunian presidents was the future EU budget and how much funds will be directed to the Common Agricultural Policy and cohesion policy in 2021-2027.

"President Nausėda and I have a common view on the matter. We believe that these funds should not be depleted, that the cohesion policy is extremely important not only for our part of Europe but also for the entire EU. Because we were not welcomed into the EU solely to receive welfare, but more importantly, for the Polish market to be more open to other states and to enable them to do business with us and earn money," said President Duda.

Friday’s burial ceremonies

Andrzej Duda and his wife, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, are in Lithuania for a two-day visit. On Friday, they are scheduled to attend the burial ceremonies of the remains of insurgents who took part in the Polish 1863 January Uprising against Russia.

As President Nausėda added, representatives of other countries of the region, Ukraine and Belarus will also take part in the ceremonies.

"This is an event on a regional scale, highlighting our bonds and the common history of our region," said the Lithuanian president.

Apart from Polish and Lithuanian presidential couples, the ceremonies will also be attended by both states’ PM’s ,Mateusz Morawiecki and Saulius Skvernelis, the deputy prime ministers of Ukraine and Belarus, the Latvian culture minister and deputy speakers of both houses of the Polish parliament.

In 1863-1864, Russian troops executed 21 leaders and participants of a revolt against the Russian Empire, which had partitioned Poland together with Prussia and Austria at the end of the 18th century. The victims' bodies were buried in secret. In 2017, during an archaeological dig, the burial sites of four insurgents were discovered.