Duda-Zelensky meeting: Poland’s material support for Ukraine to be discussed

Polish material support to Ukraine, with its doorstep darkened by the Russian military, is to be discussed as part of the embattled country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky’s two-day ongoing visit to Poland.

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Having arrived in Poland at President Andrzej Duda’s invitation, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed with his counterpart “the security situation in the region and the threat of Russian aggression.”

“Supporting Ukraine is currently one of the priorities of the international policy of Andrzej Duda,” said the head of the National Security Bureau (BBN) Paweł Soloch.

However, the question, posed by Poland’s public broadcaster TVP, is would Poland provide Ukraine with military support in the same way as declared by some NATO member states who had already mobilised such aid in the form of, for instance, military equipment.

The BBN head said that that precisely was “what both of the presidents are talking about.” He went on to say that during the two-day meeting in the Polish city of Wisła talks would cover “the possibilities of supporting Ukraine also in a material way, not just politically.” Mr Soloch added that this matter had been discussed with members of the Polish government and the management of the Ministries of Defence, Foreign Affairs, and Internal Affairs and Administration.

For his part, the head of the presidential International Policy Bureau (BPM) Jakub Kumoch said on Thursday that “Poland supports Ukraine, saying clearly that there would be no consent for Russia’s aggressive politics.”

In the wake of the first day, President Zelensky dubbed the talks “productive”.

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An edgy stare down

The meeting between the two heads of state takes place with a shadow of Russian invasion looming over Ukraine, as Moscow’s troops gather right next to its border. Deeming Ukraine part of its sphere of influence, Russia has been trying to obtain legal guarantees from NATO that it would not advance its presence in Ukraine and withdraw the Alliance’s structures back within the 1997 boundaries. The Kremlin made itself explicit that should no such guarantees be provided, it would take steps, and military ones too, albeit it has not specified the scope of such potential undertakings.

Ukraine and Western states believe that Moscow’s military buildup of over 100,000 Russian soldiers deployed along Ukraine’s border is designed to exert pressure on Kyiv and supporting states. Military experts, Western governments and officials, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinekn, are speaking of a viable risk of Russian aggression.