We owe the Mazeikiai oil refinery investment, a key energy security element for Poland, to the vision and determination of President Lech Kaczyński, PM Mateusz Morawiecki said on Sunday in the town of Mazeikiai, northern Lithuania.
Morawiecki told a press conference with Lithuanian PM Saulius Skvernelis that the refinery strengthened Poland’s energy security and geopolitical position, and was one of the bonds linking Poland and Lithuania, which were increasingly tied by common interests.
“Today Poland and Lithuania are increasingly bound by common interests, among others here at Mazeikiai, primarily thanks to the vision, determination and courage displayed by President Lech Kaczyński,” Morawiecki said. He added that the Mazeikiai refinery “bound both countries politically” and “created room for building political security.”
In this context he recalled President Kaczyński’s strong opposition to the German-Russian Nord Stream gas pipeline project, observing that Kaczyński had been right in his forecasts.
“President Kaczyński was right when he warned against Russia’s appetites at the time Nord Stream 1 was being created. Then came the (Russian – PAP) invasion on Georgia, then Ukraine, and then Nord Stream 2,” the Polish PM said.
Morawiecki also appealed to Skvernelis for a Polish-Lithuanian plaque commemorating Kaczyński on the approaching 10th anniversary of the Mazeikiai refinery’s takeover by Poland’s oil giant PKN Orlen. Skvernelis supported the idea, and stressed that it had been President Kaczyński who prevented the Mazeikiai plant from falling into Russian hands.
Skvernelis added that Poland and Lithuania were at the outset of a “new phase” in their strategic partnership and assured that both countries had many common interests in areas such as security, the EU, or defence.
President Lech Kaczyński died in the 2010 Smoleńsk air disaster, when a Polish government plane crashed in Smoleńsk, western Russia, 1km short of the runway in foggy weather conditions, killing all on board. Among the victims were President Kaczyński, his wife and scores of top political and military officials. The delegation was underway to nearby Katyń for anniversary commemorations of the April-May 1940 Katyń Forest Massacre, in which units of the Soviet NKVD security service executed 22,000 Polish officers, policemen and administration staff.