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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has pledged to make his country the “most reliable” backer of Ukraine, as western allies struggle to approve further financial and military assistance nearly two years into Russia’s full-scale invasion.
“It is very important to build the feeling that Poland is the most reliable, most stable ally of Ukraine in this deadly clash with evil,” Tusk said during a visit to Kyiv on Monday. “There is nothing more important than supporting Ukraine in its war effort against the Russian attack. This is absolutely number one.”
The Polish premier’s highly anticipated trip comes after relations with Kyiv deteriorated during the last year in office of the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, which engaged in trade disputes and mutual recriminations with Ukraine’s government. Tusk took office last month pledging to repair the relationship and place Poland at the heart of EU policymaking.
Tusk’s show of support was welcomed by Ukrainian officials, who have been calling on EU and US allies to set aside their domestic political differences and agree on new financial and military aid together worth about $110bn, as Russia has intensified its aerial attacks on Ukrainian cities.
Poland and Ukraine are ready to finalise talks on investments to jointly produce ammunition and weapons, Tusk said on Monday after talks with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“The whole free world should help Ukraine in every aspect because it’s our common interest,” he said in a video released by Zelenskyy’s office of the two leaders meeting. “There is no space for symmetry, for neutrality.”
Zelenskyy welcomed Tusk as a “good friend”. “We are thankful that Poland, your society, has always been with Ukrainians from the first days of the full-scale war,” he said.
Initially a strong ally of Ukraine in the first year of Russia’s full-scale invasion, the PiS government changed course last spring and adopted a protectionist stance to defend Polish farmers and other economic sectors that rebelled against cheap Ukrainian imports and services.
In the run-up to the October election, Polish President Andrzej Duda, a PiS nominee, ratcheted up tensions by comparing the war-torn country to a drowning person clinging to their rescuer and endangering their life.
Tusk’s visit comes days after his government negotiated a suspension of a border blockade by Polish truckers, backed by farmers. But the PM has indicated he would keep in place a unilateral import ban on Ukrainian grain, which Brussels is now expected to allow capitals to impose when flooded by cheaper imports from Ukraine.
Tusk vowed to resolve all remaining disputes “in the spirit of friendship” and “not to maintain or multiply them”, according to a statement published on the social media platform X.