WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A display of war-damaged Russian weapons in downtown Warsaw serves as a reminder of the horrors of the war in Ukraine but also that Russia's aggression can be defeated, officials said Monday.
Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar and the head of Poland's prime minister's office, Michal Dworczyk, inaugurated the exhibit in Warsaw’s Castle Square - a symbolic venue that was painstakingly rebuilt after it's destruction during World War II.
Dworczyk said the damaged T-72 tank, a self-propelled howitzer and elements of Russian missile systems show that Russia's army, once considered invincible, can be defeated. The equipment fell into the hands of Ukrainian forces early in the war that started when Russia invaded on Feb. 24.
“This Russian equipment destroyed by Ukrainian soldiers proves that determination, courage and professionalism can lead to the defeat of the Russian army,” Dworczyk said.
The tank was destroyed Mar. 31 in fighting near the village of Dmytrivka, west of Kyiv. Exhibit labels in Ukrainian, Polish and English said that the body of a Russian tank platoon commander was found near the tank.
Maliar said the equipment also demonstrate the effectiveness of Ukraine's defense systems - some of which have been provided by European countries - and underscore need for more such support.
The display, called “For Our Freedom and Yours," opened on the eve of a NATO summit in Madrid that aims to boost the strength of the military alliance's rapid reaction force and military support for Ukraine.
Maliar said Russia's artillery is 10 times more powerful than Ukraine's. Ukraine has been urging its western allies to provide more military equipment and munitions to support its defense against severe Russian attacks in the east of the country.
“Moscow still has the Soviet ambition of bringing Russian tanks to the Atlantic Ocean, to the English Channel," Maliar said.
“With this exhibition we want to demonstrate that thanks to Ukraine, thanks to our resistance, such tanks can get to Europe only as museum exhibits,” she said.
There are plans to take the weapons display to the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe, Maliar said.
Giorgio Buonvicini, a tourist from Genoa, Italy said “people need to know and need to ... understand better what is happening.”
Ukraine’s neighbor Poland has been a staunch supporter of Kyiv, seeing Ukraine's resistance as defending all of Europe.
Follow AP’s coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
Monika Scislowska, The Associated Press