President Andrzej Duda, President Of The Republic Of Poland, joined The Brian Kilmeade Show to discuss the Ukraine, Russia war, asking President Biden to give more military equipment to Ukraine and how former President of Poland Lech Kaczyński predicted in 2008 allowing Russia to invade Georgia would lead to an eventual invasion of Ukraine

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Rough transcript

Brian Kilmeade [00:00:00] Hey, welcome back, everyone. It’s my privilege to have in studio the president of Poland, Andre Duda, president of the Republic. Opponents really, since 2014, he’s done a remarkable job and stepped up big time when this Ukraine war started. His country has taken in about a million Ukrainians. Mr. President, welcome to the show.

Speaker 2 [00:00:18] But as I said, listening, if you don’t buy that electoral reform package, he’s going to.

Speaker 3 [00:00:22] Achieve great, you and all our listeners and viewers.

Brian Kilmeade [00:00:25] How is Poland been able to absorb the million Ukrainians and what has been the greatest challenge for your country as after Russians invasion?

Speaker 2 [00:00:36] Doorbell, Andrew said.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:00:38] That was a reflex of our hearts.

Speaker 2 [00:00:40] Nobody really had.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:00:41] To encourage Poles, my compatriots, to welcome refugees from Ukraine into their homes. We call them guests in Poland.

Speaker 2 [00:00:50] Yeah. Could get the Russians.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:00:52] When Russia attacked Ukraine, launching a full scale attack, as we put it, on the 24th of February 2020 to. Well, indeed, a huge flight of refugees started to move towards the Polish border. We opened up our border immediately, trying to let as many people get through as possible, try to make it available for the biggest possible number of people to flee from the areas which Russia was attacking. Because right from the start in that war, Russia has been virtually attacking civilian neighborhoods, is not only military targets. Right from the start, they carried out brutal missile raids of big neighborhoods in big Ukrainian cities in Harkov, in Kiev and in other places, also close to the Polish bordering Lviv in.

Speaker 2 [00:01:37] Losc attack of Baltic attack.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:01:39] So there were a lot of such attacks and people were fleeing just like that. Indeed, they were welcomed in Polish homes and just anonymous people whom they had never known took them poles and went to the border, took those people home. They invited them and supported them. That was just a reflex of the heart, so to say we know simply what it means that somebody is suffering when somebody was attacked, especially by Russians. Unfortunately, this is a part of our history, a big part of our history. And this opening of the hearts was just immediate. It was just a reflex of the heart.

Brian Kilmeade [00:02:12] It was pretty amazing to see. You are also the first nation to give the Ukrainians fighter jets and they need more fighter jets, don’t they?

Speaker 2 [00:02:23] Yes.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:02:24] We have a transfer to Ukraine, big Navy size, big parts of armaments. The first wins. The biggest assistance, of course, is coming from the United States and being neighbors to Ukraine. We are very grateful for that to the U.S. authorities for that help, for that support to Ukraine. Without this support, Ukraine would not survive. And there is no doubt about that. They wouldn’t be able to defend themselves. It is not only about the bravery of the Ukrainian soldiers, which is wonderful, but it is also a matter of having things to fight with, equipment to fight with. So right from the start we were also sending armaments to Ukraine, the one which Ukraine soldiers were able to use right away. That was important at the outset. They had no experience whatsoever with Western American military equipment or German equipment or French equipment, but they were very good at using so it era Russian equipment. That is why we sent right away MiG 29 jets. We put them at the disposal of Ukrainian soldiers and they had a pilots were able to fly those planes right away. We sent more than 300 tanks to Ukraine, Mainly these were the post Soviet era tanks. But we modernized them in Poland and they had a strengthened armors. Also, communication systems were high quality ones. They were well equipped and ready to fight. We sent more than 300 such tanks plus also leopard tanks later on produced by Germany. We even organized a tank coalition or an armored coalition, as we call it. We also talked to everybody and convinced everyone upon the request of Ukraine to send modern tanks to Ukraine, the tanks which were tanks of the 21st century. And indeed we were implementing that help all the time. So we belong were among the three states who actually gave the biggest military assistance to Ukraine, that is. And that was a huge effort to us. But we are doing that also in order to strengthen Polish security, because we know that Russian imperialism has to be stopped to ask. This is of importance to make sure that Ukraine can defend itself so that Russians are not able to conquer Ukraine so that they do not defeat Ukraine. Ukraine has to defend itself, and I make an appeal to everyone to support Ukraine because the primacy of international law has to be reinstated. And in order for that to happen, Russian troops have to be driven out from the Ukrainian lands. Ukraine has to recover control of its internationally recognized borders.

Brian Kilmeade [00:04:53] So we’ve given $70 billion, but everything we give seems late. HYMAS Late Patriot late at 15, trainings late the cluster bombs, late the javelin missiles late, the tanks, 31, not one has arrived. How hard has it been on the Ukrainians? Because it seems like we are always late.

Speaker 2 [00:05:20] So just just.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:05:21] First and foremost, assistance is needed and it’s positive that the assistance is being given. I’m always saying, well, we need to appreciate that because without a military support, especially with modern equipment, Ukraine would not be able to defend itself. The problem that Ukrainians are facing is not only the so-called military techniques or technology simply said weapons. There is also another thing. Russia simply the Russians are much more numerous than Ukrainians. Vladimir Putin does not care for the life of his soldiers, his hands, thousands of soldiers to die. As a matter of fact, in many cases, Russians are suffering huge losses. But it is setting soldiers coming from the far east of Russia. These are not soldiers from Moscow. They are not reservists or conscripts from St Petersburg, from big cities where there are influential elites, where there could be a rebellion on the part of the society, where the world would be able to see mothers of fallen soldiers protesting. It is taking soldiers from at far away areas of Russian non Russians. They are coming from many different nations, nations who live in Russia and those soldiers are being killed. And most simply that they are actually outnumbering Ukrainians with a sheer number. This is the difference between 40 million Ukrainians and 140 million Russians.

Brian Kilmeade [00:06:40] We are late on this and it may it makes it harder in America for us to support the war when we’re late on getting the stuff they need. Yet the numbers are high in terms of what we already given. Have you expressed that the President Biden, that, you know, they need F-15s, they need more tanks? 31 is not enough.

Speaker 2 [00:07:01] I am sorry.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:07:02] Yesterday I said to President Biden because we had an opportunity to see each other during a reception given here in New York by Mr. President on the occasion of the U.N. General Assembly. Traditionally, I said, I ask for a match to provide further support to Ukraine to supply armaments to Ukraine, because that is of key importance to stop Russian imperialism, to avoid a huge war, because I am convinced that if Russian imperialism is not stopped, then Russia, sooner or later, with its actions, will lead to a great war. And then, unfortunately, as we have seen in history and the history of the First World War in the Second World War, in order to bring about peace in Europe, somehow the United States again will have to get involved by deploying its soldiers. That is why I urge and I make an appeal to help Ukraine right now so that Ukraine is able to defend itself before this conflict spills over.

Speaker 2 [00:07:59] Today.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:08:00] We can cut off Russian imperialism simply by forcing Russians to withdraw and by doing that by punishing the imperialist ambitions.

Speaker 2 [00:08:10] And obvious Vladimir Putin.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:08:13] Which Vladimir Putin is demonstrating. This is a huge opportunity today to keep the peace in the world, and I appeal to everyone. And I also ask President Biden.

Speaker 2 [00:08:23] To do.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:08:23] The same, to use this opportunity. This opportunity is being used precisely through supporting Ukraine. We are asserting sending armaments, and we are helping Ukrainians to defend their homeland.

Brian Kilmeade [00:08:35] So you I understand, all spending even more on your defense than any other nation in NATO’s per capita for your GDP. Not only you do in 2%, you’re going to get up to 4%. Why do the Polish people in you President dude in particular understand the need to hit the threshold of two and double it where other nations like Germany, France, Hungary and others don’t even get close to that. In fact, only nine nations are hitting their 2%. That drives that drives critics of NATO’s crazy play, people like President Trump. And he’s got a great point, doesn’t he?

Speaker 2 [00:09:17] Yeah. Mean, I’m sure the martial arts teacher I.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:09:19] Was 17 years old in 1989.

Speaker 2 [00:09:22] When.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:09:23] The Iron Curtain was falling and when Poland was liberating itself from the darkness of communism and.

Speaker 2 [00:09:31] You know.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:09:31] Simply.

Speaker 2 [00:09:32] Soviets from.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:09:33] The Russian from the Soviet sphere of influence. We were successful, thanks to solidarity, thanks to the determination of the Polish people, and also thanks to huge support from the United States. And we will always be grateful to President Ronald Reagan. We will recall him with great and with gratefulness, but also our. Pope John Paul, the second in my own war. So I’ve got a picture where Ron Reagan and the pope were talking to each other and the two huge leaders were leaders. And together with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, they brought the fall of the Iron Curtain. And thanks to that, we managed to liberate ourselves without expired, without bloodshed in a democratic way through protests, three elections. That was a great, great success. But we understand full well in Poland what Russian occupation is, what Russian sphere of influence stands for. And today, when Russia again has revived his imperial ambitions, when it wants to govern, to subjugate to itself other nations, which it demonstrated in Georgia back in 2008, which it has been demonstrating since 2014 and Ukraine and since last year.

Speaker 2 [00:10:42] Through a full.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:10:42] Scale aggression by crushing civil in neighborhoods, by killing people. Polish people understand full well that we have to prepare ourselves right to show that we are strong enough and hence the decisions.

Speaker 2 [00:10:56] To.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:10:57] Spend on defense. On strengthening Polish armed forces. Of course, we are very happy to have on our soil the U.S. soldiers, and we are really grateful for that to the United States as a state and as a member of NATO’s that we know that what is the biggest importance is to make sure that we are a responsible ally. And a responsible ally is the one who cares for their own security.

Brian Kilmeade [00:11:18] President do to have Poland. I have so many questions for you, but I guess first and foremost, is this a Putin issue? Is Vladimir Putin the one who really wants to expand and get the Russian empire back, or is this a Russian government policy? And he just happens to be the president? Is Putin the problem or is Russia the problem?

Speaker 2 [00:11:40] Much of it is.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:11:40] Of course.

Speaker 2 [00:11:41] A grounding problem. Yes, to.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:11:43] A huge problem is the attitude of the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. He is leading the state, after all. And these are his political decisions. And, of course, of course, a circle of his collaborators as well. Let us be open and frank and say the following This policy, the imperialist policy of Russia, the policy of aggression of Russia against Ukraine, makes support of a huge part of the Russian society. There were no big protests in Russia against Vladimir Putin’s policy. Russians for many years have been fed with propaganda. They are being convinced that they have the right to govern other nations, that they have the right to expand their rule skinnier back to the nations in our part of the world. And our part of Europe.

Speaker 2 [00:12:31] Has had.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:12:32] To do with a Russian aggression, with Russian influences, and they don’t want to have them back. And we will defend ourselves against that because we do not want to have a role scheme here. We have our own cultures, we have our own customs, and we want to preserve these. Would not want Russia to impose its rules upon us.

Brian Kilmeade [00:12:49] Like they’ve done before with the Soviet Union coming on one end, Nazi Germany in the other end, and they cut Poland to pieces. And you’re not going to let that happen again, I’m sure of it.

Speaker 2 [00:12:59] At a huge.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:13:01] Number of our citizens were murdered. Poles were shot down during the Second World War. That was done by Germans, by German Nazis. That was also done by Russians in cutting. They killed Polish officers, Polish intelligentsia. Several thousand Poles were murdered in a brutal way.

Speaker 2 [00:13:19] Right.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:13:19] By the Stalinist regime, by the Soviets, sent hundreds of thousands were deported to faraway Siberia. We know what suffering means in Russian enslavement, and we never want to see that again.

Brian Kilmeade [00:13:32] They’re great at this, capturing things like they’re taking Ukrainian kids and bring them into Russia. They give 4% of their GDP to NAITO and they’ve already given 3.15 excuse me, $3.26 billion towards this fight in Ukraine and taking in over a million ukrainians. The president of Paul and I understand the threat in studio. More with him in just a moment. The president of Poland, who’s doing such a remarkable job as an ally to the Americans, especially to the Ukrainians, understand the Russian threat. Mr. President, give me your view on the counter insurgency right now. I know you said prior to this the Russians have really dug in and they’re looking to protect the land they stole. And but it seems as though there seems to be breakthroughs over the last few weeks in taking back small towns. Are they getting the demining equipment? Are they starting to see some penetration?

Speaker 2 [00:14:26] But on the offensive.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:14:27] The beginning of the offensive.

Speaker 2 [00:14:29] To control.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:14:30] Or the counteroffensive launched by Ukraine, it was very difficult. The reason for that was that, well, perhaps the Ukrainians might not have or might have underestimated the Russians, their preparation just to keep the occupied areas. Russians built a very strong line of defense. They built fortifications. And first and foremost, they laid hundreds of square kilometers of minefields. And indeed, the Ukrainian army, which was launching the counteroffensive, was entering those minefields and suffered huge losses. That is why a couple of months ago, I personally was asked by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Speaker 2 [00:15:09] And Myanmar’s warships as well, that.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:15:11] Poland sends special vehicles, demining vehicles. And as a matter of fact, we were supplying such vehicles from Poland as part of our support. We were looking for them all over Poland in military units in order to be able to deploy them to Ukraine in as soon as possible so that they could support the defensive activities of Iranians to support the country, and that, in fact, Russians did a lot of work to fortify, and that was holding back to a large extent the Ukrainian counteroffensive today. And some of those minefields have been neutralized. But that is going to be a concern for tens of years after the war ends, because we know that minefields are a tragedy.

Speaker 2 [00:15:54] Not only.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:15:55] Under anti-personnel mines, but today I.

Speaker 2 [00:15:57] Use today.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:15:59] A lot of those difficulties have been over.

Brian Kilmeade [00:16:01] 90 seconds left. Right now, people wonder how committed Western Europe is to this. There’s word that India is selling Russian oil back to Western Europe to get a discount. They’re starting to break their own sanctions. Countries like Germany, do you worry about countries like Germany and France who are not giving what they pledged? You think they’ll start to maybe forget about this job scheme?

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:16:25] Well, in the first place, I keep calling on helping Ukraine. The assistance to Ukraine is also very consistent implementation of the sanctions policy vis a vis Russia. Russia has to be stopped. The Russian imperialism is very dangerous. Today, this Russian imperialism is demonstrated through their brutal aggression against Ukraine. But if Russia is successful in Ukraine, then it will probably attack other states. As many years ago in 2008, when Russia invaded Georgia. Polish President Lech Kaczynski was saying in Tbilisi, and I had an honor to cooperate with him back then as a young minister in his office. He said that today it’s Georgia. Tomorrow perhaps it will be Ukraine and then perhaps the U.S. and perhaps even to my country, Poland. I predict that he said it in 2008. And unfortunately, his words are coming true. That is why we.

Speaker 2 [00:17:21] Are.

Translator for PRESIDENT ANDRZEJ DUDA [00:17:21] Trying so much to support Ukraine today in our part of Europe. But the presidents of the Baltic states myself, because we are aware that Russia poses a real threat, that there is a Russian imperative.

Brian Kilmeade [00:17:33] Mr. President, was it thrilled to have you here? And we’re so glad you’re an ally of ours, the way you fought with us in Afghanistan, Iraq, and doing it again.