President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the signing of Decree № 355/2022 on the establishment of the honorary title "Rescuer City", and the first to receive this title was the Polish city of Rzeszów. The Head of State said this in a speech in the framework of joint participation with President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda in the plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
“Before this speech, I signed a decree noting the special role of the Polish city of Rzeszów. I have introduced a special honorary title of "rescuer city" for the partner cities of our state, which today do the impossible to help us, to help our people, to help our army. On behalf of the entire Ukrainian people, I would like to express great gratitude to the city of Rzeszów, the first rescuer city,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The President noted that almost all Ukrainian cities are sister cities of those in Poland. Our nations are also brothers, and our countries are sisters.
“We are relatives. And there should be no borders or barriers between us. The Ukrainian and Polish nations have not been mentally separated for a long time. So we agreed to implement this in the near future in the relevant bilateral agreement. First on joint border and customs control, and later on the conditional border when Ukraine becomes a member of the European Union,” the Head of State stressed.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also thanked Andrzej Duda for his readiness to visit the European capitals together with President of Slovakia Zuzana Čaputová in order to lobby for Ukraine's membership in the EU.
The Head of State also thanked Polish cultural figures, sportsmen, clergy and ordinary people who support Ukrainians: organize big concerts, take part in competitions with the Ukrainian ribbon, or come from Poznań to Bucha just to bake bread.
The President noted the decision of the Polish Sejm, which grants Ukrainian citizens, who were forced to move temporarily to Poland due to the aggression of the Russian Federation, almost the same rights and opportunities as Polish citizens have: legal residence, employment, education, medical care, social guarantees.
“This is a great step, a great gesture of a great soul, which only a great friend of Ukraine is capable of. And this step will not remain unilateral. I believe that in the near future we must submit to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine a similar - mirror - bill. God forbid that Polish citizens will ever need all these advantages in such conditions, in conditions of war. But these laws are of great symbolic significance. They show that Ukrainians and Poles are native and equal. And I am sure that the parliamentary corps of Ukraine will support this law - quickly and, I am sure, by a majority of votes,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.
“The unity of our nations must remain constant. Neither now nor in the future does anyone have the right to break this unity. Neither our politicians, nor hostile agents, nor even members of the jury at Eurovision. The Ukrainian and Polish nations gave each other 12 points - today and forever,” he added.
For his part, Andrzej Duda assured in his speech that Poland will never leave Ukraine alone. He stressed that the free world today has the face of Ukraine.
"I believe that this new friendship between millions of Ukrainians and Poles will lead to the fact that we will be good neighbors forever. This is a great historical chance," said the President of Poland.
He also thanked the Ukrainian people for their courage, love of freedom, heroic resistance and protection of their Homeland and the whole of Europe from Russian barbarism and imperialism.
Andrzej Duda expressed confidence that Ukraine will receive the status of a candidate for EU membership, and later will definitely become a member of the European Union.