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Polish President Duda: Defeating Russia in Ukraine war is the only ‘guarantee of peace’

By Caitlin Hu and David Shortell, CNN

United Nations (CNN) — Western support for Ukraine as it defends against Russia has globally significant consequences, Polish President Andrzej Duda said Tuesday, urging Kyiv’s backers to remain steadfast.

“It is about making sure that Russia is not able legally to forcefully shift the borders in Europe,” Duda told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview from the United Nations headquarters in New York.

“This is the guarantee of peace in the future, also for the United States.” Poland and Ukraine share a lengthy border, an area where the war resonated fiercely on Tuesday after Russian drones struck warehouses in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

There is no compromise solution, Duda also said – a position shared by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Both leaders took the podium in New York on Tuesday morning, as the United Nations General Debate got underway.

“Russia can be stopped only if it is defeated, and it will be defeated when Ukraine pushes out the Russian army from the occupied territories, thanks to the help of the United States, thanks to the help of the West, and when it regains control over its internationally recognized borders. Only then will we be able to say that Russian imperialism was really defeated,” Duda told Tapper.

Poland has been an ally of Ukraine since the Russian invasion, taking in more than a million Ukrainian refugees and leading the way in urging NATO partners to send more military supplies to Kyiv.

In the spring, Poland became the first NATO country to send fighter jets to Ukraine – months ahead of the US, which only agreed last month to approve the transfer of F-16 fighter jets, pending the completion of training by Ukrainian forces.

Asked about a run of corruption scandals that have plagued Zelensky’s wartime administration, Duda acknowledged that corruption has been a longtime issue in the neighboring country.

Nevertheless, Duda said he believed that Zelensky had begun to fight against corruption as soon as he took office – and emphasized that corruption concerns should not hamper Western support to Ukraine’s military effort.

Washington has poured billions into Ukraine’s defense, and is set to begin delivering 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine in the coming weeks.

But the US is also closely monitoring its ongoing security assistance to Kyiv, as a growing number of Republicans call for more oversight into how the money is being used and question the wisdom of spending billions of dollars on its defense.

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