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    “Russia Must Be Stopped”: President Duda Outlines Strategy Against Kremlin in Italian Media

    In a significant interview with Italy’s “Il Messaggero” newspaper, Polish President Andrzej Duda emphasized the need for a robust strategy against Russia, underscoring that Vladimir Putin “understands the language of force” and is “ready to exploit any weaknesses.” The discussion, marking the second anniversary of Russia’s assault on Ukraine, highlighted Europe’s urgent recalibration of its security mindset in response to the conflict.

    President Duda pointed out that the West has finally acknowledged Russia as an aggressor state, engaging in brutal, neo-imperial policies that have led to the bombardment of cities and loss of innocent lives. He noted that Poland’s longstanding warnings about Moscow’s imperial ambitions have been proven correct. “We know this face of Russia well,” he stated, lamenting that Europe’s past mistakes have primarily burdened Ukraine, which now pays a high price in blood.

    Reflecting on the broader implications for Europe, Duda mentioned economic problems leading to social unrest and increased fears of a larger war. However, he praised the transatlantic community’s unified support for Ukraine and efforts to strengthen its deterrence and defense capabilities.

    Duda argued for peace in Ukraine through adherence to international law and the restoration of the country’s territorial sovereignty. He underscored the importance of Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity for the security and peace of the entire European continent, stating, “Russia must be stopped in its imperial march.”

    The Polish president called for democratic nations to support Ukraine militarily, financially, and humanely on a larger scale than before, including further economic sanctions against Russia and a unified commitment to their implementation. He highlighted Poland’s contribution to supporting Ukraine from the conflict’s onset, providing military equipment and humanitarian aid, and the country’s efforts to integrate Ukraine into the European Union and NATO as a future peace guarantee.

    Duda also recalled Putin’s pre-invasion proposal that NATO withdraw its forces from new member territories, including Poland, which was rejected for compromising security guarantees. He emphasized the importance of strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defense capabilities, particularly on its eastern flank, citing Poland’s effective defense against hybrid attacks as evidence of its contribution to Europe’s security.

    Lastly, President Duda advocated for increased defense spending, noting that while not all NATO member states meet the 2% GDP target, Poland plans to allocate 4.2% of its GDP to defense in 2024, the highest proportion in the alliance. He stressed the need for continuous reinforcement of forces on NATO’s eastern flank and called for bold political decisions, such as launching new weapon production lines in Europe, to ensure future peace in the region.

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