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President Andrzej Duda at Monte Cassino about Russian imperialism: criminal, cruel and ruthless

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On Saturday, the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino was celebrated. At the famous Polish necropolis in Italy, President Andrzej Duda said that “the soldiers who died here are calling on Europe for responsibility.” – They are calling: (…) we will not allow Russian imperialism to spread to other countries – he said. He also said that Russian mir is “sucking blood” from other nations.

The main celebrations on the 80th anniversary of the battle took place at the Polish War Cemetery at Monte Cassino. The mass on this occasion was celebrated by the field bishop of the Polish Army, Wiesław Lechowicz. The president took part in the celebrations Andrzej Duda and first lady Agata Kornhauser-Dudaas well as the president Italian Sergio Mattarella.

Polish delegation at the ceremony at the Polish War Cemetery at Monte CassinoPAP/Albert Zawada

Duda: here are those who never returned from the great battle

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– In those days that we remember today, on the night of May 17-18, 1944 and during the next two days, the famous song “Red Poppies” was composed about the Battle of Monte Cassino and the heroism of Polish soldiers – said Andrzej Duda.

President Duda at Monte Cassino: they went through the fire crazy and wonTVN24

He also referred to the lyrics of the song, recalling that there is a fragment in it: “madmen fell through the fire.” – More than one of them got hit and died – he said. He also emphasized that they were heroes who fought to “open the way to freedom.”

– They fought for Poland and died for Poland. How many of them, walking next to the tanks (…), told themselves that they were walking through a dark valley, but they would fear no evil? There are those here who never returned from this great battle. They are here in this cemetery, they stayed here – said the president. He noted that among them is also the grave of their commander, General Władysław Anders.

As he said, “this is the great history of Polish weapons, the decision of General Anders, which is extremely important for our history, that the Poles will attack, knowing that the Allies had previously suffered such huge losses.” – Yet he wanted to show that Poles are fighting and that the Polish cause is on the banners – said the president, adding that “the Polish assault turned out to be effective.”

Duda: Russian imperialism is always the same

Duda also referred to Russian aggression against Ukraine. As he said, it doesn't matter what Russia is in a given coin – tsarist, Soviet or Putin's – Russian imperialism is always the same: criminal, cruel and ruthless. – Russian mir is not any Russian culture, it is brutal rule over other people, subjugating other nations, sucking their blood, kidnapping their children to the East. This is Russification, brutal force used against other nations, which has nothing to do with contemporary standards of democratic countries, said the president.

– From this place, fallen soldiers cry to Europe for responsibility. They cry: never again war, don't let it happen, help the Ukrainians stop the Russians, don't let Russian imperialism spread to other European countries, he continued.

The president pointed out that many people forgot that right after Hitler's wars Germans, which invaded Poland in 1939, Poland was invaded by Soviet Russia. – As an ally of Germany, it tore Poland into two parts and it was from this Soviet occupation that the soldiers who died here came – he pointed out.

He also assessed that in 1939 Poland was weak and could not defend itself because those who ruled Poland at that time lacked imagination. – Today we have to draw conclusions from this and we are doing it – he noted, talking about the modernization of the army. – I believe that today's Europe has learned that lesson and will no longer allow Russian imperialism to take over countries and enslave people, as it happened in the past – he added.

“Monte Cassino is a symbol of the glory of our Armed Forces”

The head of the Office for Veterans and Victims of Oppression, Lech Parell, and the Speaker of the Senate were also present at the celebrations. Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, deputy speakers of the Senate Rafał Grupiński and Maciej Żywno. The Sejm was represented by the deputy speaker Dorota Niedziela together with MPs Andrzej Grzyb and Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska. In addition to the highest state authorities, the last surviving soldiers of the 2nd Polish Corps took part in the ceremony.

During the ceremony, the roll call of the fallen was read. A delegation of Polish authorities and veterans laid wreaths at the Virtuti Militari cross. Anna Maria Anders, Polish ambassador to Italy, also placed flowers at her father's grave.

Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Italy Anna Maria AndersPAP/Albert Zawada

The head of the Office for Veterans and Victims of Oppression, Lech Parell, said that “Monte Cassino is a symbol of the glory of our Armed Forces.” – When we say Monte Cassino, we don't mean only these battles, we mean all other victories of Polish weapons. I think we can safely say that by paying tribute to the soldiers who fought at Monte Cassino, we are paying tribute to virtually all the soldiers who fought during World War II, he emphasized.

The Italian massif of Monte Cassino, together with the Benedictine monastery located on the hill, was a key German defensive position during World War II in the so-called Gustav Line, intended to prevent the Allies from capturing Rome. On May 18, 1944, after extremely fierce fighting, it was captured by the 2nd Polish Corps commanded by General Władysław Anders. 923 Polish soldiers died in the battle, 2,931 were wounded and 345 were reported missing.

Ceremonies at the Polish War Cemetery at Monte CassinoPAP/Albert Zawada

Main photo source: PAP/Albert Zawada



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