A festive session of the Warsaw City Council was held at the Palace of Culture and Science. This year's event referred not only to the anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising but also to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The ceremonial session of the City Council, held on the eve of the 78th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, is part of this year's commemoration of the event. Today's session made firm reference not only to the August 1944 uprising but also to the war raging on Ukrainian territory for more than five months. The event began with the playing of the national anthems of Poland and Ukraine, and in the Palace of Culture and Science - where the session was held - photographs were presented from Warsaw, and Ukrainian towns and cities were engulfed in armed conflict.
Ukraine is unbroken, as Warsaw was once unbroken. Today, many Ukrainian citizens are refugees who - like the inhabitants of Warsaw after the end of the fighting in October 1944. - became 'ambassadors of war'," said Ewa Malinowska-Grupińska, Chairwoman of the Warsaw City Council. - In recent months, many Ukrainian towns have repeated the tragic fate of our capital, which was razed to the ground 78 years ago. I hope that - as Warsaw once did - these towns and the whole of Ukraine will rise from the ruins," she added.
The moment is a special one. We always gather before the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising to remember the event. However, we never expected that the message of the Uprising would be so timely, that there would be a war going on beyond our eastern border, and that the images we know from history would return," said Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of Warsaw. - We cannot pass over these events. Our task is to remember and help, in the name of all the values for which the Warsaw insurgents once died, and today the Ukrainian insurgents are dying," he added.
Honorary Citizens of Warsaw
At this year's ceremony, medals and diplomas were awarded with the title of Honorary Citizen of the City of Warsaw. This is an expression of the highest distinction and recognition of merits or outstanding achievements of Polish and foreign citizens. This year, the former mayor of the capital, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, and the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, were honoured with the title.
I am proud that my work for the city, Warsaw residents and the people of Warsaw has been appreciated. Today, with the benefit of hindsight, I can say that Warsaw had good administrators who tried and cared for the residents. As far as possible, I continued the work of my predecessors. From the beginning of my presidency, the comfort of the city's residents was important to me. I remember these 12 years with gratitude," said Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, receiving the award.
The title of Honorary Citizen of the City of Warsaw was also awarded to Vitali Klitschko, Mayor of Kyiv.
Thank you for granting the title of Honorary Citizen of your wonderful city. It is a great honour for me, but also a recognition of the heroic attitude of all Kyivans and the courage of the entire Ukrainian people, who are repelling the invasion of Russian barbarians," said Vitali Klitschko, mayor of Kyiv. - Ukrainians have not and will never give up. We are fighting for our freedom, for the right to live in a free and democratic country. Still, he added that we are also defending democracy, stability and security for the whole of Europe.
Vitali Klitschko also thanked the Poles for helping Ukraine and its citizens during the ongoing conflict. The award with the title of Honorary Citizen of the City of Warsaw was received on his behalf by his brother, Vladimir Klitschko.
During today's session, the award was also received by Andrzej Rottermund - art historian, museologist, long-time director of the Royal Castle in Warsaw and Honorary Citizen of the City of Warsaw from 2020.