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Mongolia may assist in bringing Russian war criminals to justice: Polish President

On the final day of their state visit to Mongolia, Polish President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda met with graduates of Polish universities at the National University of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar. There, President Duda presented several Mongolian citizens with Polish state awards for their efforts in promoting stronger bilateral ties between the countries and spoke of the importance of mutual relations and of the important role the Asian country has to play on the world stage.

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President Duda, whose three-day state visit to Mongolia concluded on Wednesday, April 26, was awarded an honorary degree of doctor of law by the National University of Mongolia, the country’s oldest tertiary education institution, established in 1942.

In his acceptance speech, President Duda said that the degree is not just an honor for him, but also a responsibility, citing the “brutal violation” of international law by Poland and Mongolia’s common neighbor, Russia, which is attempting to rebuild its former empire according to the principle that might is right, as is evidenced by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Poland and Mongolia perfectly well remember from history what a world like that looks like. It is a world based on occupation, extermination, and rape. That is why we must, at any price, prevent [that world] from returning,” Duda said.

“The international community should do everything to stop the atrocities committed by Russia in Ukraine. The role of the UN is key in this matter. Of course, the onus of responsibility lies with the members of the UN Security Council, of which Russia, unfortunately, is one,” he said in the context of stressing the mutual commitment of Poland and Mongolia to build a multilateralism based on the principle of the United Nations system.

As the Polish Head of State stressed, it is key right now that “Russia’s actions are met with an appropriate reaction from the international community and the Kremlin regime begins to directly suffer from the consequences of its deeds.”

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The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian dictator Putin in the “Children Right’s Ombudswoman” Maria Lvova-Belova for the crime of genocide in the form of child kidnapping and unlawful adoption as well as forced deportation of Ukrainian people from occupied areas of Ukraine into the territory of the aggressor state. The ICC warrant was cited by Duda as a small but important step in the right direction of bringing the Kremlin’s war criminals to justice.

“I am convinced that Mongolia can make a significant contribution to the efforts of the international community to protect international law and help in bringing the Russian war criminals to justice,” he said.

“For years, Poland has been observing and it recognizes Mongolia’s efforts, not only in building democracy domestically but also in safeguarding peace and security worldwide,” President Duda said.

“As the President of the Republic of Poland, I wish to assure you that we understand the Mongolian people in a way that few other nations can. Similarly to yourselves, for centuries we have been wedged between two dominant neighbors,” Duda said, referring to Mongolia sandwiched between Russia and China, and Poland neighboring Russia and Germany.

“We understand that the initial and instinctive reaction in the face of having such neighbors is to be pragmatically cautious. Nonetheless, in the long run, such an attitude may lead to the curtailing or, in the worst-case scenario, to the loss of independence,” Duda said, continuing that “Mongolia knows this, and that is why it has for years expanded its relationship with ‘third neighbors’. More so, I wish to invite you from this spot to accede to the great international coalition of the free world, which now is engaged in a serious fight against dictatorship and the violation of international law.”

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“Today’s event is the best evidence of the fact that the relationship between Poland and Mongolia, these common, interpersonal relationships, are ongoing, irrespective of whether diplomatic posts are there or not. And that is a very good thing,” said the Polish President.

To further drive the point home, he met with graduates of Polish universities and presented state awards to Mongolian citizens who have been promoting bilateral relations.

Four citizens of Mongolia were awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, a Polish state award given to persons who have rendered great service to Poland, be they foreigners or Poles resident abroad.

Maj. Gen. Boldbataar Zagdsuren received an Officer’s Cross of Merit for “outstanding service contributing to the development of Polish-Mongolian cooperation in the field of national security”.

Col. Azzaya Gandbold received a Golden Cross of Merit for “service contributing to developing Polish-Mongolian military cooperation”.

Dagva Rentsendagva received a Silver Cross of Merit for “service contributing to developing the Polish-Mongolian regional cooperation”.

Erdenetsogt Olonbayar received a Bronze Cross of Merit for “service contributing to the promotion of Polish art in Mongolia”.

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