President Bronislaw Komorowski together with a group of international officials marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II at the Westerplatte Peninsula in Gdansk (northern Poland) on Thursday night.
"The war in Ukraine does not allow us to forget that there are still forces in Europe ... that apply the logic of spheres of influence and strive to keep their neighbours in a vassal-like dependence, that do not respect civilised principles of law and relations among nations", President Komorowski said in his speech just after midnight.
When Ukraine became yet another country to demonstrate its desire to join Europe, the president continued, the response of its stronger neighbour was use of force and changing borders by force. "This has not been practised in Europe since 1945 precisely, which is why it is hard for us to joyfully celebrate the fact that 70 years ago World War II ended in Europe", Bronisław Komorowski said.
Address at the Westerplatte Commemoration Ceremony
"The end of World War II did not mean a measurable share in the victory for everyone; the end of the war was not the beginning of an age of freedom for everyone", he pointed out, mentioning how Europe was split by the Iron Curtain. Komorowski added that in the Soviet empire and its dependent countries, human rights had been violated on a mass scale.
The president also underlined that Gdansk was the birthplace of Solidarity, the organisation "that challenged the post-Yalta order in all of Europe".
At the ceremony honouring all those who fought against Nazism and all the casualties of World War II, besides the president Poland was represented by Senate Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz, Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, deputy PM and Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak, and Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna.
International guests attending the observances included the presidents of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Romania and Ukraine, the prime minister of Slovakia, U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon and European Council President Donald Tusk. (PAP)