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Zelensky presents state awards to Polish volunteers

by The Kyiv Independent news desk September 23, 2023 8:37 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky presented state awards to two Polish volunteers during a stop in Lublin on Sept. 23, 2023 for their efforts to support Ukraine's war effort. (Photo: President's Office)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky presented state awards to two Polish volunteers during a stop in Lublin, Poland, on Sept. 23 for their efforts in supporting Ukraine's war effort.

"What you do is significant work—helping and supporting Ukrainians on the front lines, who are truly defending not only Ukraine but, in my view, Europe, the whole world, our common values," said Zelensky.

According to the President's Office, the volunteers were journalist Bianka Zalewska and medic Damian Duda.

Zalewska started volunteering in eastern Ukraine in 2014 collecting and delivering humanitarian aid. After Russia's full-scale invasion, she continued her volunteer work, including helping transport seriously ill children to hospitals in Poland for treatment.  

Duda and a team of medics purchased medical supplies at their own expense and traveled to Ukraine to evacuate wounded soldiers to stabilization points on the front lines. He also established a fund that finances the purchase of medications for volunteer medic teams in Ukraine, the President's Office added.

Zelensky also acknowledged how much Poland has done for Ukraine since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022.

"I am proud that Ukraine has such a strong neighbor. I want to thank you. I want to thank the entire Polish nation, all the people who, from the very beginning, opened their families and their homes and stepped up to help. I believe that any challenges on our shared path are nothing compared to the strength between our peoples," Zelensky said.

The gesture comes after tensions between Ukraine and Poland in recent days over Ukrainian grain exports. However, Poland's President Andrzej Duda emphasized on Sept. 22 that the issue must be resolved and would not upend Polish-Ukrainian relations.

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