Poland ready to accept Ukrainians seeking medical help or refugee
February 21, 2014
Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that Polish hospitals are getting ready to take in Ukrainian citizens injured in the street fights of Kiev, and that his country prepares the way for those seeking refugee status.
"We have at our disposal a large number of defense and interior ministry hospitals. We are preparing them. Anyone seeking aid in Poland will get help," Tusk said.
So far 11 casualties of Ukrainian unrest have received medical help in Poland.
At least 39 people were killed during in street fighting in Kiev on February 20, the Ukrainian Health Ministry said. The ministry said that 75 people had died since February 18 and more than 750 got injured. The Ukrainian police force has been given combat weapons for use in the civil unrest in Kiev, Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko said.
Fresh fighting broke out between thousands of protesters and riot police on Kiev's Independence Square only hours after opposition leaders and President Viktor Yanukovych declared a truce. Protesters were seen throwing firebombs and molotov cocktails at police, who responded with teargas. The square was filled with black smoke from burning tires.
Meanwhile, Poland's foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski, together with his counterparts from France and Germany, Laurent Fabius and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, were engaged in a series of talks in Kiev throughout Thursday, to discuss the current conflict in the country on behalf of EU foreign policy head Catherine Ashton.
The talks opened with opposition leaders, and then with President Yanukovych, and in the evening another round was held with opposition leaders. Marcin Wojciechowski, a spokesman for Poland's foreign ministry, said that the three EU ministers will stay on in Kiev until Friday, as the discussions continue. Meanwhile, Sikorski wrote on his Twitter account between meetings that at the presidential palace, the mood of officials was “panicky”.
Citing sources close to the talks, the Polish news agency PAP reported that there is a chance of reaching a compromise between the Ukrainian authorities and the opposition.