Polish Ambassador to the U.S. Marek Magierowski on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on March 10, 2022.

Polish Ambassador to the U.S. Marek Magierowski on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on March 10, 2022. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Poland Won’t Recognize Russian Gains in Ukraine, Ambassador Says

The ambassador said European allies will face “tremendous pressure” to return relations with Russia to normal after the war.

Poland will not recognize land captured by Russia during the war in Ukraine as Russian territory, the Polish ambassador to the United States said Wednesday. 

Nearly two months into the invasion, Russian troops are focusing their efforts on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, where Russian leader Vladimir Putin falsely claims that Ukrainian officials are targeting and killing Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Moscow launched its offensive in the Donbas on Tuesday. If Russia can seize the port city of Mariupol, which has been the site of heavy bombing, it would cement a land bridge to the Crimean peninsula, which Putin annexed in 2014.  

Even if Russian troops succeed in capturing Luhansk and Donetsk in the Donbas, Polish Ambassador to the United States Marek Magierowski said his country will always consider that land part of Ukraine. 

“We have never and we will never recognize Russian jurisdiction over Crimea [or] Russian jurisdiction over those two breakaway provinces in the East. It’s absolutely impossible. The current Polish government and any other Polish government no matter the political affiliation…will never recognize Crimea as Russian territory,” Magierowski said, earning a round of applause from the audience. 

Though Magierowski seems confident Poland will never recognize violently-seized land as legitimate Russian territory, he believes other European countries might be eager to return to the relationship they had with Moscow before the war broke out. Germany, for example, imported 65 percent of its gas from Russia in 2020. And energy is the only the highest-profile sector where Europe relies on Russia; other areas of cooperation exist from underwater pipelines to deep space.

“I believe there will be tremendous pressure on the part of at least some European countries to return to normalcy in our relationship with Russia, both in terms of our trade and political relations,” Magierowski said. “it will be very perilous in terms of our political standing.”

The Biden administration has led the world in imposing sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, including banning the import of Russian oil, blocking transactions from Russia’s largest state-owned bank, and targeting the assets of oligarchs. Poland has imposed its own sanctions on Russia as well, and called for even more severe consequences.