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Vistula Spit Canal opening is Poland’s great victory: President Duda

The opening of the Vistula Spit Canal is a great victory for Poland, Polish patriots and all those who understand the meaning of the word “sovereignty”, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said on Saturday during the opening ceremony of the Vistula Spit Canal – a major water infrastructure project rendering Poland more independent from Russia.

September 17th 1939: Soviets invade Poland

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“Today, I want to announce that despite the difficult geopolitical location held by the Republic of Poland for over a millennium in this part of Europe, despite the winds of war that bore down on us, despite human losses of our nation counted in millions, despite personal tragedies that all Polish families and generations endured, despite all the adversities, difficult times and years of communism [rule], despite all of that happened in Poland over the past 30 years, Poland has emerged victorious,” President Duda said.

With the Vistula Spit Canal, Poland emerges victorious here today,” he stressed.

The President went on to say that launching and completing the construction of the canal, as well as putting it into operation and opening it for use “is Poland’s great victory, a great victory for patriots.”

“It is a grand victory for all of those who understand the word ‘sovereignty’ in its internal and external – international – sense alike,” he said.

Już o 13.00 oficjalna inauguracja działalności Kanału Żeglugowego przez Mierzeję Wiślaną, zbudowanego jako pierwszy etap nowej drogi wodnej łączącej Zalew Wiślany z Zatoką Gdańską.

— Kancelaria Prezydenta (@prezydentpl) September 17, 2022

The waterway is a way of freedom

For his part, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that “the shipping canal opened today is a way of freedom, a way of new chances and opportunities.”

“In a symbolic manner, today, on the 83rd anniversary of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland, we break free of the shackles of our, be it as it may, dependency on the Soviet Union and then the Russian Federation,” he stressed.

Highlighting the great opportunities that the Baltic Sea offers to Poland, the official said that they must be seized.

“The Vistula Spit Canal is a testimony of will, efficiency, and the pursuit of a strong, independent and sovereign Poland,” the Prime Minister said.

The Vistula Spit Canal is a result of will inspired by patriotism

Having taken the floor during the ceremony, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party Jarosław Kaczyński said that “the opening of the canal is a result of will inspired by patriotism.”

He went on to add that he also meant “pan-Polish patriotism oriented towards the state – a type of patriotism effectuating conclusions that we cannot be both dependent and making decisions about our own matters and territory at the same time,” as well as the local patriotism of the inhabitants of Warmia and Mazury regions.

“The patriotism of the Warmia and Mazury inhabitants and all of those who wanted this land to flourish and the port of Elbląg become Poland’s fourth contributing to [the country’s] development and the fight with the disaster of unemployment that has long plagued this land,” Mr Kaczyński said.

Throwing sand in the Russia’s gears

Bolstering Poland’s security and reinforcing the independence of its maritime navigation and trade from Russia, the canal is opened on the 83rd anniversary of Soviet Russia’s invasion of Poland in 1939.

It also sends out a message to the Kremlin that its political predecessors’ endeavours to obliterate Poland failed in the end. Today, the country stands tall, carrying out its independent policies and playing a major role in Europe.

What to expect during the inauguration ceremony?

Speaking about the nearing ceremony, Deputy Infrastructure Minister Marek Gróbarczyk said that “the first part will consist of speeches, the second one is the inaugural sluicing, including commissioning.”

“Today, three vessels will navigate through the watergate [of the canal], namely a Maritime Office vessel Zodiak II and two vessels under the flags of the Border Guard and the Marine Search and Rescue Service (SAR),” he went on to add.

The official stressed that Polish state maritime vessels had no possibility of entering the Vistula Lagoon before the canal’s completion because “they had to ask Moscow for permission.”

“On this day, this [limitation] becomes history,” he said.

The official also told RMF FM radio that the Saturday ceremony would relate to September 17, 1939.

The official went on to say that the canal would be made available to the public as of Sunday. “Night sluicing won’t be available just yet,” he noted, adding that “we will be sluicing until 6 pm only due to limitations related to the marking of the shipping lanes.”

The full length of the waterway from the Gdańsk Bay through the Vistula Lagoon reaching Elbląg amounts to 23 km. The length of the canal itself amounts to over 10 km. The depth of the canal and the entirety of the water shipping lane will amount to five meters.

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