On his first official visit to Poland, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is being hailed as the hero who is rescuing Europe from Russia’s maw, sealed a new axis of common interests and military might on Wednesday, shifting Europe’s centre of geopolitical gravity eastward.
While in Poland, the Ukrainian leader signed an agreement that will allow for the joint production of arms and ammunition and received strong support from Polish leaders for Ukraine’s rapid entry into NATO (though this is still a remote prospect given the wariness of Western European members).
Because of its historical ties to Ukrainian nationalists, who killed tens of thousands of Poles in what is now western Ukraine (but was then part of Poland), the slogan was banned in Poland for decades.
Mr. Zelensky, in an emotional speech thanking the Polish people for their strong support against Moscow and for sheltering millions of refugees, described Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and his predecessors in the Kremlin as their “common enemy,” and this has led to a largely forgotten history of animosity between the two countries.
At the beginning of his tour, Mr. Zelensky was greeted at the presidential palace by an honour guard and a military band. After a night of festivities, Ukrainian and Polish officials met to discuss ways to strengthen military ties and move on with Ukraine’s bid for EU and NATO membership.
Because of President Putin’s decision to launch a “special military operation” against Ukraine 13 months ago, Poland, the lynchpin of NATO’s eastern border, has gained substantial new power inside the alliance. When compared to the other NATO members bordering Russia, Poland has the greatest population and military. It is also one of just seven nations in the 31-nation alliance that fulfils its military budget commitments.
Poland’s defence spending is now far over the NATO goal of 2 percent of GDP, and the country is pressuring laggards like Germany to catch up. It has also been an outspoken advocate for Ukraine’s request for more military support from other European nations. This assistance has taken the form of cutting-edge German combat tanks and Soviet-era fighter jets. Poland, the first nation to equip Kyiv with such aircraft since the conflict began, recently made good on a promise it made last month to dispatch MIG-29 fighters to Ukraine.
Before Mr Zelensky arrived in Warsaw, U.S. Ambassador Mark Brzezinski had already opened a massive warehouse complex intended to store American tanks and other weapons at a military installation in Powidz, west of the city.
Putin has long argued that NATO’s expansion into former Soviet republics and satellite nations constitutes aggression against Russia, and he has claimed that preventing Ukraine from joining the alliance was one of his primary motivations for invading the country on such a massive scale. As a result, the alliance has strengthened, and Finland and Sweden have decided to join.
While this was Mr. Zelensky’s third visit to Poland since Russia launched tanks and soldiers surging into Ukraine from three sides last year, it was the first to be surrounded by the pomp and formal ceremony of the Polish state.
Because of Ukraine’s preparations for an anticipated spring offensive and Poland’s pressure from farmers angry over a flood of Ukrainian farm products, as well as the growing (albeit still small) public support for a far-right political party that has been highly critical of Mr. Zelensky, the timing of this meeting was particularly delicate for both countries.
Confederation has softened its rhetoric, which previously repeated Kremlin propaganda lines in its harsh criticism of the Ukrainian government. However, it still acts as a conduit for political currents that disagree with the governing parties of Poland on whether or not Ukraine and its refugees (of whom there are more than 1.5 million in Poland) deserve strong assistance.
subsequently February of last year, over 10 million Ukrainians have entered Poland, but many have subsequently left for other countries or returned home.
Throughout the day, Polish authorities stressed that Ukraine had become a significant client for Poland’s arms industry and would also provide large chances for Poland’s construction businesses, in an effort to deter any potential reaction against Ukraine resulting from economic distress.
According to the Polish official news agency PAP, the two nations have inked arrangements for the sale of Polish self-propelled mortars, combat vehicles, and antiaircraft systems, as well as an agreement for the collaborative manufacturing of 125-millimeter tank rounds and other armaments.