14th anniversary of President Kaczyński’s visit to Georgia under attack

Then-President of Poland Lech Kaczyński travelled to Tbilisi with the leaders of Ukraine and the Baltic States on August 12, 2008. The purpose of the visit was to manifest international support for Georgia, which had been invaded by Russia. On that day, at a rally in Tbilisi, President Kaczyński gave a speech that has gone down in history, in which he called for the world to react against Russian imperialism.

Polish President Lech Kaczyński reached the Georgian capital of Tbilisi to show the Georgians that they are “not alone”.

Along with the president, leaders of Ukraine and the Baltic States travelled to Tbilisi to speak in front of an audience of 150,000 Georgians.

“Today it is Georgia, tomorrow Ukraine, the day after tomorrow the Baltic States, and then perhaps my country, Poland,” President Kaczyński said, as bullets whizzed just hundreds of metres away. “We were deeply convinced that membership in NATO and the EU would end the period of Russian appetite, it turns out that it was a mistake. But we can resist,” he added.

Shortly after the visit, the Russian military machine stopped advancing and the conflict died down.

In an interview with the Polish Press Agency (PAP), the head of President Andrzej Duda’s chancellery Grażyna Ignaczak-Bandych emphasised that without Lech Kaczyński’s initiative the story could go a different way, as the West seemed not interested with Russia’s actions.

“It was to the credit of Europe, first and foremost of the representatives of the Central and Eastern European countries, mainly the President of the Republic of Poland, that military actions on Georgian territory were halted. At the same time, Poland’s role in the region was clearly defined,” Ms Ignaczak-Bandych added.

“Now we should take this as a warning and listen to this voice – especially in the international arena – unite forces and resources so as to support fighting Ukraine as effectively as possible. As Poland, we have done and are doing a lot, but the support of the European Union and its member states is also needed,” she pointed out.