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UPDATE: Polish president affirms support for Ukraine in standoff with Russia

21.01.2022 19:00
Ukraine can count on Poland's support in the event of a Russian attack, the Polish president affirmed on Friday after two days of security talks with his Ukrainian counterpart.
Polands President Andrzej Duda (right) and Ukraines Volodymyr Zelensky (left) meet for security talks in Wisła, southern Poland.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda (right) and Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky (left) meet for security talks in Wisła, southern Poland.Photo: Marek Borawski/KPRP

Andrzej Duda met with Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky in the southern Polish resort town of Wisła this week to discuss regional security and the risk of further Russian aggression against Kyiv, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

After the talks between the two presidents ended on Friday, Duda reaffirmed an earlier statement by his foreign policy advisor, saying in a tweet: "I told President Zelensky that Ukraine can count on our country's support."

He added that "Poland rejects the concept of spheres of influence and supports full Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine."

Polish President Andrzej Duda. Polish President Andrzej Duda. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Lange

Duda thanked Zelensky "for this valuable visit and constructive consultation."

'Ukraine can count on Polish support'

Earlier in the day, Duda's foreign policy advisor, Jakub Kumoch, told the media that Poland "supports Ukraine and opposes any concessions to Russia."

Kumoch was quoted as saying that "Ukraine can count on Polish support in the face of the threat" posed by Russia.

He added: "The Euro-Atlantic community has a duty to counteract any aggression regardless of its size and scale."

He was referring to Russia’s buildup of more than 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine, with Moscow demanding that NATO never admit Ukraine or other former Soviet republics, and withdraw infrastructure from the alliance's eastern flank, the PAP news agency reported.

Kumoch also said that a special channel would be established for continued contact between Poland and Ukraine, with further talks planned in the next few weeks between presidential aides, news agencies reported. 

Poland supports Ukraine's 'pro-Western aspirations': PM

Meanwhile, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a podcast that "Poland unequivocally supports Ukraine in its pro-Western aspirations."

He called on European leaders to put up a united front against Moscow amid fears that Russia could be preparing to invade Ukraine.

"In the face of Russian threats, European unity and solidarity is key for Ukraine," Morawiecki wrote.

"Russia must know that it is dealing with a united front without exceptions," he added.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: PAP/Albert Zawada

'Grateful to Polish people'

Ukraine's Zelensky said in a Twitter post on Friday that he was “grateful to Polish people and President Andrzej Duda for consistently supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and Euro-Atlantic integration.” 

He added: “Such support is especially important in these hard times. Glad that we are working together to confront the security challenges in the region.

'Swift, severe, united response' if Russia invades: Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after talks with Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov on 
Friday that Moscow would face a "swift, severe and a united response" if it invaded Ukraine.

"We've been clear: If any Russian military forces move across Ukraine's border, that's a renewed invasion," Blinken told a news conference in Geneva.

"It will be met with swift, severe and a united response from the United States and our partners and allies," he added.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet for talks in Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, amid soaring tensions over Ukraine. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet for talks in Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, amid soaring tensions over Ukraine. Photo: EPA/MARTIAL TREZZINI

Russia's deployment of troops near Ukraine has raised fears in the West that Moscow, which seized Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in 2014 and has since backed separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine, may be poised for a new attack, the Reuters news agency has reported.

Russia has denied plans for an assault but says it could take unspecified military action if its security demands are not met, according to Reuters.

(gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters, prezydent.plstate.gov