Speech by Pavel Latushka at the ceremony of awarding the medal "75 Years of Jan Karski Mission" to Andrzej Paczobut
Dear Mr. Stanislav Paczobut and Mr. Marshalak, ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great honor for me to have the opportunity to speak to you today here in the city of Lublin. This city holds historical significance as the birthplace of the close relationship between our peoples, the Belarusian and Polish, where our civilizational ties were forged. The Union of Lublin provided the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with the means to withstand the threat from the east, namely the Principality of Moscow. For centuries, this eastern threat has sought to destroy the Belarusian people and our statehood.
With the support of Russia in 2020, dictator Lukashenko managed to remain in power, and since then, he has subjected the citizens of Belarus to more than three years of repression. Presently, Belarus has over 1,519 political prisoners (and those are official numbers), arrests occur daily in various cities across the country. These actions are accompanied by violence and torture. Between May 2020 and May 2023 alone, there have been 136,000 recorded victims of crimes against humanity, including murder, torture, and rape.
Andrzej Paczobut is one of those individuals whom the Lukashenka regime seeks to break. To the Belarusian people, he is a hero, and to the Polish people, he is a hero as well. He is our shared hero, symbolically uniting us in the fight against dictatorship and tyranny. He exemplifies resilience and integrity, sacrificing his freedom, health, and even risking his life to fight for ideals, even from behind bars. Such sacrifice is the mark of a truly strong and courageous individual.
I express my deepest respect for the brave acts of Andrzej Paczobut.
I am convinced that we can secure the release of all political prisoners, including the hero of our two nations, Andrzej Paczobut, who serves as an example of integrity and dedication to the ideals of human rights and democracy for Western politicians. However, we require the support of the international community to accomplish this.
Today, Poland has become a second home for hundreds of thousands of Belarusians, and we are grateful to Poland and the Polish people for the opportunity to live and work here. We will never forget this.
Just as we remember the heroic victory of the troops of Kanstantsin Astrozhskiover the Muscovites in the Battle of Vorsha in 1514, it is significant that the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian brigade named after Hetman Kanstantsin Astrozhskiis stationed near Lublin.
Today, Ukraine finds itself on the front line of a civilizational confrontation, with its citizens sacrificing their lives in the fight against the aggressor. It is crucial for Belarusian volunteers to stand alongside those fighting for Ukraine. By supporting and assisting them, we contribute to Ukraine's cause.
Presently, the countries comprising the Lublin Triangle are Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania. However, speaking on behalf of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus, I am confident that, in the historical perspective, Belarus stands united with Europe, but our foremost dependence lies on strategic partnerships with our closest neighbors: Poland, Ukraine, and Lithuania.
Thus, the city of Lublin may once again become synonymous with the birth of a new integration project – the Lublin Square, where Belarus assumes its position as the fourth side.
I firmly believe that together we can aid Ukraine in achieving victory, liberate Belarus, and secure the freedom of Andrzej Paczobut and the thousands of political prisoners. Thank you for granting me this opportunity to deliver a speech in Lublin.