Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 1

The Presidents of Ukraine and Poland, Leonid Kuchma and Aleksander Kwasniewski, jointly inaugurated on January 3 the Krakovets-Korczowa border crossing and customs station, tipped to become one of Europe’s largest and busiest. Capable of handling up to 5,000 motor vehicles daily, the 12-lane station is intended as a key link in the projected Baltic-Black Sea and Lisbon-Kyiv transit corridors, as well as serving bilateral Ukrainian-Polish commercial and passenger traffic. Kuchma and Kwasniewski described the station — the fifth to be opened between the two countries — as a symbol of Ukraine’s and Poland’s "joint entry into Europe."

On the same day the two presidents inspected the Ukrainian component of the joint Ukrainian-Polish battalion at Yavoriv military base. Currently having an authorized strength of 740, the joint battalion is scheduled to make its official debut in the Peace Shield-98 war games alongside units from the U.S. and other Western countries next September at Yavoriv. According to Ukrainian defense minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk, the joint battalion’s Ukrainian component is already capable of performing the combat tasks envisaged as part of that exercise. Kwasniewski, for his part, termed "Ukraine’s independence and stability an essential factor in the stability of Europe."

In the nearby city of Lviv, formerly the Polish Lwow, Kuchma and Kwasniewski laid flowers at the monuments to the Polish and Ukrainian national poets, Adam Mickiewicz and Taras Shevchenko, and at the graves of volunteers from both sides who had fought each other for that city. (Ukrainian agencies, January 3-4) The gesture was meant to underscore the two nations’ historic reconciliation, which has gathered momentum recently. It was formally codified in the Kuchma-Kwasniewski declaration at a summit in Kyiv last May, when the two presidents also decided to create the Ukrainian-Polish battalion.

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