Poland Preparing New Defense Package For Ukraine, Zelenskyy Says, As Warsaw, Kyiv Work To ‘Reset’ Relations

(RFE/RL) — Poland is planning a new defense package for Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on January 22 after a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in which they pledged to tackle political disputes that have caused bilateral friction amid Russia’s full-scale invasion.

The defense package is “a new form of cooperation aimed at larger-scale arms purchases for Ukrainian needs,” Zelenskiy’s press office quoted him as saying.

Zelenskiy also expressed gratitude to Poland for its readiness to start work on a bilateral agreement on security cooperation. The two leaders also hailed proposed plans for joint arms production that Tusk said would “be a very profitable business for both sides.”

Tusk, who returned as prime minister in December following elections in October, insisted at a joint media briefing that “no one in Poland has any doubts” about further supporting Ukraine.

Tusk’s office said the Polish prime minister told Zelenskiy that “nothing builds mutual respect and friendship like selfless help in difficult times” and assured him that Ukraine is not alone as he delivered a message of friendship toward Ukraine.

“Poland will do everything to increase Ukraine’s chances of victory in this war,” Tusk said. He also slammed leaders who have not fully backed Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia.

“Today, anyone in the free world who pretends to be neutral…deserves the darkest place in political hell,” Tusk said.

Tusk announced the visit last week, saying he would hold talks on blockades by Polish truckers at the Ukrainian border, which threatened to hurt Ukraine’s economic growth and eroded relations between the two countries.

The truckers agreed last week to suspend their protests, which had been aimed at revoking Ukrainian truckers’ permit-free access to the European Union, until March 1.

Warsaw and Kyiv have also been at odds over Ukrainian grain exports to Poland and the rest of the European Union.

Tusk said both sides “have reached a common understanding” over protests by Polish farmers and truckers.

“We understand the depth of the reasons that led to this kind of situation, but draw attention first and foremost to the depth of the threat that stands before our peoples,” Zelenskiy said, adding that he welcomed Warsaw’s work on the issue.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, in a separate briefing with Tusk, declared a “reset” in relations between the two governments and said they would hold regular meetings to strengthen cooperation.

Kyiv will invest “maximum effort” to avoid harming Poland’s economic interests, he said. But Ukraine also expects Warsaw to lift restrictions on its farmers and producers.

“I am sure that we will find a solution that will benefit Polish farmers and producers and will be safe for the Ukrainian side,” Tusk said. “An honest conversation between friends can work wonders.”

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