Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced a “historic” joint customs control with Poland on Sunday, stressing “unity of Ukrainians and Poles is a constant that no one will break.”
“A solution has been reached that is revolutionizing the order on our border,” Zelensky said during his nightly video address. “We are introducing joint customs control with Poland. This will significantly speed up border procedures. It will remove most of the corruption risks. But it is also the beginning of our integration into the common customs space of the European Union. That is a truly historic process.”
Zelensky’s comments came on the heels of Polish President Andrzej Duda’s visit to Kyiv earlier in the day. Duda also emphasized the unity between the two countries as he became the first foreign leader since the Russian invasion to address Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada.
Zelensky described Ukrainian-Polish relations as “finally on a completely clean, sincere basis, without any quarrels and old conflict heritage. This is an achievement — the historic achievement of our people. And I want the brotherhood between Ukrainians and Poles to be preserved forever. As I talked about it today in front of the deputies, our unity of Ukrainians and Poles is a constant that no one will break.”
Zelensky also said he signed a decree introducing a new award “to thank those cities of partner countries that have helped the most. And Rzeszow became the first such city. The savior city. It is fair to say.”
The Ukrainian leader also announced the preparation of a bill that will mirror the law passed in Poland about Ukrainian citizens who sought refuge in Poland and who “have been legally given the same opportunities as Poles.”
Nearly 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees have entered Poland since the Russian invasion in February, making it by far the single largest host nation for people fleeing the country, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“It will be the right gesture to pass such a law in Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “Let it be so that the citizens of Poland will never have to use such a law. But let us show our gratitude and our respect.”
The Ukrainian leader also said he spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and “discussed ways to increase the volume of our exports, especially agricultural products. As well as the volume of fuel imports to Ukraine.”