As Poland’s Law and Justice party (PiS) steps down from the helm of government, former Deputy Prime Minister Jadwiga Emilewicz reflected on Poland’s support for Ukraine during the Russian invasion in an interview with Visegrád 24, saying there is “no doubt” Ukraine will win the war.
“We’ve been touched by the war very personally from the very first days of the conflict,” she told Visegrad 24 in a new video interview. “Just after Feb. 24, more than 5 million refugees passed through Poland and more than 2 million in the first year decided to stay in Poland.”
“I think the Western world is going to win this war, and I think this conflict is almost ended. So, the bankruptcy of Russia is visible,” she said.
Emilewicz emphasized that due to its management of the refugee crisis, Poland became the first example of such a large displacement in which people faced no real social conflict in their host country.
“Not even during the Second World War did such a massive number of people pass through another European state,” she said, recalling that within two months, Poland had set up an ID system that integrated them into the social security system to enjoy the same social support as Polish citizens.
“Today, we’ve got more than 200,000 Ukrainian kids who have passed through the Polish school system,” she said, adding that more than 40 percent of those who came decided to stay — mostly women — and are now officially employed in the Polish labor market.
However, Emilewicz was critical of the general stance of the West in the buildup to hostilities, emphasizing that Poland was vindicated in its decades-long disagreements about European foreign policy toward Moscow.
“Everything that has been said in Poland regarding the Nord Stream 2 project and the general attitude toward Moscow throughout the last 20 years was right,” she stated. “So, it was Poland which was in the right; not the West, not Berlin, nor Paris nor Brussels.”
She also expressed her frustration that “only the Americans really understood, but it wasn’t enough to convince Western European partners to start to do anything different.”
She reiterated that it is “really very difficult to find any mistake in what Poland did. Other Western leaders thought that Poles overestimated Putin. Only Poland was really prepared.”