Ukraine's Zelenskyy praises ties as Poland pledges additional support

A Ukrainian soldier rests his head on a bar table. (Photo: Serhii Korovayny)

On a visit to neighbouring Poland, where he commended the country for its military support and accepting Ukrainian refugees, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy received new commitments to bolster cooperation.

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February of last year, Ukraine and Poland have developed a closer connection, with Warsaw taking the lead in often convincing hesitant allies to equip Kyiv with heavy armaments.

During the visit on Wednesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced that Poland would provide Ukraine with 14 MiG-29 fighter jets designed by the Soviet Union to assist it in repelling the Kremlin's attack.

The former Soviet satellite, now a member of the European Union and NATO, feels particularly threatened by Russia and has strongly advocated for assisting Kyiv.

Zelenskyy's trip to Warsaw was a rare excursion outside Ukraine during the conflict. While he had previously visited the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Belgium, his journey to Poland stood out because it was advertised in advance and conducted without a secret.

It was also the first time that Zelenskyy and Olena Zelenska travelled overseas together since the start of the war, according to Marcin Przydacz, the head of Duda's foreign policy.

At a news conference with Duda, Zelenskyy stated that his administration would "extend a warm welcome" to Polish companies seeking to assist in the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine, which the World Bank estimates could cost $41bn.

After the conclusion of the Russian invasion, Poland should be a vital partner in the massive reconstruction effort, according to Zelenskyy. Afterwards, he met with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and announced that he would sign agreements to develop Ukrainian infrastructure.

Duda also presented his Ukrainian colleague with Poland's highest honour, the Order of the White Eagle.

After accepting the medal, Zelenskyy remarked, "You have stood shoulder to shoulder with us, and we are grateful." These are historical relations, outcomes, and historic strengths between our nations.

Duda expressed confidence that Ukraine would prevail in the fight.

He stated, "We do not doubt that your actions and the valour of Ukrainian soldiers saved Ukraine." "We do not doubt that your actions are preventing a deluge of Russian imperialism from engulfing Europe."

The visit to Poland, which has taken in over a million Ukrainian refugees, comes as Ukraine prepares for a counteroffensive in the following weeks or months to regain territory from Russian soldiers in the country's east and south.

Zelenskyy stated on Wednesday that the situation in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut was "extremely, extremely difficult" and that "appropriate decisions" would be made if the encirclement of Ukrainian troops by Russian forces was imminent.

"For me, preventing the loss of our soldiers is of the utmost importance. If there is a moment of even hotter events and the possibility that we could lose personnel due to encirclement, then generals will take the appropriate decisions," he said.

Duda stated that Poland is attempting to secure further security guarantees for Ukraine at the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.

In addition to MiG-29 jets, Ukraine officials have demanded F-16 jet fighters to bolster Kyiv's ability to target Russian missile units with US-made rockets. However, Duda's foreign policy adviser Przydacz stated that Poland would not decide whether to send any jet fighters soon.

The majority of Poles back the Ukrainians in their fight with Russia. According to a survey by Ipsos, 82% of Poles believe that NATO and European Union countries should support Ukraine until it wins.

Publish : 2023-04-06 10:13:00

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