On Wednesday, April 5, Polish President Andrzej Duda bestowed the Order of the White Eagle on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a ceremony at the presidential palace in Warsaw.
Zelensky and his wife, Olena Zelenska, are in Poland for what is being billed as the most comprehensive state visit by a Ukrainian president since Russia’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine began.
The Order of the White Eagle is “the oldest and highest Polish award,” and is presented to “outstanding individuals,” Duda said in the presence of Zelensky and the two countries’ first ladies.
“He is a unique man. You, Volodymyr, are unique. Having received the mandate from your people, you suddenly were called to a unique mission that nobody could have foreseen,” Duda said.
“None of us a year ago, after the Russian invasion, could have known what would happen to Ukraine and what would happen personally to you. Undoubtedly, we know that your position, together with the stance of the heroic Ukrainian people … will save Ukraine from the Russian aggression,” Duda added, calling Zelensky “a man of outstanding qualities.”
Zelenskyy thanked Duda, the government and the Polish people for standing “shoulder to shoulder” with Ukraine and giving fleeing Ukrainians shelter.
“We believe this is a historic relationship,” Zelensky said.