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Duda in Latvia: Special tribunal to prosecute Russian crimes in Ukraine needed

Wednesday, 01 February, 2023, 18:24
Duda in Latvia: Special tribunal to prosecute Russian crimes in Ukraine needed

Following his meeting with Latvian President Eglis Levits in Riga, Polish President Andrzej Duda has stressed the urgency and actuality of President Levits’ idea to establish a special tribunal to prosecute Russian crimes perpetrated in Ukraine.

“I support the Latvian President’s idea to establish a special tribunal to prosecute Russian crimes perpetrated in Ukraine,” President Duda said in Latvia’s capital of Riga on Wednesday. “A special penal tribunal must be established to hold the criminals accountable.”

Talking about his conversation with the Latvian counterpart, President Duda said it boiled down to “security, security and time and again the security of Poland, Latvia and our region.”

“We are carrying out all the projects that are fundamental for our region,” President Duda said. “We are supporting Ukraine and building the sphere of our security… We are thinking about ensuring future transport infrastructure capacities.”

In the context of security-building, President Duda stressed that “the war in Ukraine shows how important access to state-of-the-art military equipment is… Boosting the capacity of military infrastructure in our countries is designed to deter aggression.”

Asked whether Poland would send its F-16s to Ukraine, President Duda stressed that in order to support allies one had first and foremost ensure its own security.

Poland has 50 F-16s in its armoury, he said, adding that the country was awaiting a batch of cutting-edge South Korean fighter jets.

The president highlighted slews of weapons that Poland has already sent to Ukraine. “Two hundred forty tanks, 100 armed vehicles, tens of thousands of machine guns, the [Polish] ‘Piorun’ man-portable air-defence system, cutting-edge KRAB howitzers,” he went on to enumerate.

“We decided to send a Leopard tanks company and declared to send more, including post-Soviet tanks,” Duda said, adding that Poland intended on sending more modernised post-Soviet T-72 tanks and Polish PT-91 Twardy tanks to Ukraine. He dubbed them “proven pieces of military equipment.

Having recalled that Latvia had also sent its weapons to aid Ukraine, President Duda stressed that it was “crucial” to arm the country “in light of a potentially approaching Russian offensive”.

“Ukraine must get as many arms as possible so that it can efficiently defend itself against the aggressor,” he said.

Both presidents stressed their country’s support for Ukraine’s NATO and EU ambitions.

President Duda underscored the need to support “Ukraine in hope that it would be welcomed by NATO in the future”. The Polish President stressed that the country, “despite the war, is enacting reformatory efforts that have been required by the European Union [to become a member state of the EU]... Ukraine wants to be part of the West, part of the European Union.”

Previewing the forthcoming NATO summit set to take place in Lithuania’s capital of Vilnius on July 11-12, 2023, President Duda said that, together with his counterpart, he discussed what to do ahead, during and after the event.

“NATO summit in Vilnius is a big event that we are looking forward to,” he said.

President Duda also said that U.S. President Joe Biden would visit Central Europe in February. But which countries he would arrive in remained unknown to both the Polish and Latvian sides.