Ukraine-Poland: the frontier of solidarity.
Documentary by Lech Kowalski (France, 2022, 52mn) available until 03/07/2022
Published on 25.6.2022
Since the start of the Russian invasion, Poland has taken in several million Ukrainians fleeing the war. In the Lublin region, director Lech Kowalski met locals and refugees, who despite themselves carry the weight of the painful history that links their two countries. Since February 24, 2022, the date of the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, several million refugees have already been welcomed by the Poles. In the Lublin region, near the Bug River, which marks the border with Ukraine and Belarus, farmers, a photographer, a teacher and traders tell how their daily lives have been turned upside down by the outbreak of this war. They depict a life punctuated by the repatriation of the wounded, temporary accommodation and the preparation of meals for the refugees.
This surge of solidarity, which arose spontaneously, is nevertheless part of a complex history. Very recently, the two countries have faced a painful memory conflict: in 2018, Poland adopted a resolution describing as genocide the massacres in Volhynia committed during the Second World War by nationalists of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). If the decision caused great tensions with kyiv, Warsaw did not hesitate to unite with the Ukrainians in the face of the Russian advance. But, with the increase in prices, especially of gasoline, some Poles have already begun to protest against welcoming too many Ukrainians. Can this solidarity last? What feelings do Polish cross-border workers have? For their part, how do Ukrainians experience their arrival in the country?
State of mind British of Polish origin, the documentary filmmaker Lech Kowalski (On va tout péter) went to the voivodship of Lublin, a region he knows well, in order to sound out the state of mind of the inhabitants who live near the Ukrainian border and are hosting many families fleeing the conflict. Over the course of his encounters, the director tries to grasp the complexity of this sensitive region, upset by the repercussions of recurring conflicts and the fear of a Third World War.