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Ukraine must ‘decide its own future,’ Poland’s Duda tells MPs in Kyiv

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Poland’s president told Ukrainian lawmakers that “only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future,” in a speech that was the first in-person address by a foreign head of state at Ukraine’s parliament since the Russian invasion.

“Nothing about you without you,” Andrzej Duda told the assembly in Kyiv on Sunday, while slamming the “worrying voices” that have been calling on Ukraine to make concessions to end the war.

Duda received a standing ovation and photos posted on Twitter showed him embracing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Poland has welcomed around 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees and supports Ukraine’s bid to join the EU.

Duda’s comments came as Ukraine said it would refuse a cease-fire and will not give up territory to Russia. In an interview with Reuters, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said concessions would backfire and only encourage Russia to hit harder.

“The war will not stop [after any concessions]. It will just be put on pause for some time,” said the presidential adviser.

“After a while, with renewed intensity, the Russians will build up their weapons, manpower and work on their mistakes. … And they’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale,” he said.

After defeating the last pockets of resistance in Mariupol, Russia has been stepping up its offensive in the eastern Donbas region. On Sunday, the Russian defense ministry claimed to have hit targets in the east and the south with air and artillery strikes.

Zelenskyy on Saturday said that returning to the positions before Russia invaded in February would represent “victory.” Speaking  on Ukrainian television, he said the conflict can be resolved only through diplomacy.

Zelenskyy is expected to address the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos on Monday. The war in Ukraine and the impact of the economic sanctions against Russia will dominate the get-together of the world’s business elite. Business and political leaders will also be discussing energy markets and the risk of famine in poorer countries dependent on Ukrainian exports.

Russian oligarchs and sanctioned individuals have been excluded from the World Economic Forum, a move that hit the organization’s budget hard.

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