“It is very important to create the feeling that Poland is the most reliable and stable ally of Ukraine in this deadly clash with evil,” said Donald Tusk.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk arrived in the Ukrainian capital on Monday for talks with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The pair will discuss how Poland can continue to support Ukraine’s nearly two-year war with Russia and resolve a dispute between the neighbours over grain shipments and trucking.
Tusk, who returned to power in Poland last month, is keen to show that a change of government doesn’t mean a change of policy on Ukraine.
He was also due to meet Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
“There are some conflicts of interest, we know them well and we will talk about them, but not only in a spirit of friendship, which is obvious, but with the attitude to solve these problems as soon as possible, not to maintain them or multiply them,” Tusk said.
That’s according to comments posted by his office on X, formerly Twitter.
“For me it is very important to create the feeling that Poland is the most reliable, most stable ally of Ukraine in this deadly clash with evil,” Tusk said.
His visit came a day after Moscow-installed officials in eastern Ukraine reported Ukrainian shelling had killed at least 27 people in Donetsk.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the shelling in Russian-controlled territory as a ‘monstrous terrorist act’, as local authorities declared a day of mourning.
The Ukrainian military denied it was involved in the attack.
It was not immediately possible to verify either side’s claims.
Support from European countries
Ukraine’s allies have sought to reassure the country in recent weeks that they are committed to its long-term defence against the Kremlin’s forces, amid concerns Western support may be waning.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and France’s new foreign minister also recently travelled to Kyiv.
Situated on NATO’s eastern flank, Poland has been one of Ukraine’s strongest allies in its fight against Russia.
Warsaw has provided weapons and humanitarian aid and opened its borders to Ukrainian refugees since Moscow’s troops invaded Ukraine.
But relations soured last year as economic competition from Ukrainian food producers and truckers angered Poles who said their livelihoods were under threat.
Polish farmers and truckers blocked border crossings, causing traffic jams and threatening the flow of some aid to Ukraine.
Polish farmers complained that imports of Ukrainian food had caused prices to fall, hurting their incomes, while truckers said they were being undercut by their Ukrainian counterparts.
The issue came to a head during the war, when Ukrainian ports were blockaded and food producers turned to road routes through Europe to get their products to market.
At one point, Poland and some other European countries banned Ukrainian grain imports because of the trade dispute.
Poland’s farmers and truckers have ended their protests for now, but Tusk is looking for ways to address their concerns. He has said his country wants to help Ukraine economically, but not at the expense of Polish businesses. He has suggested that Ukraine needs to better regulate its trucking industry.
Tusk was also due to honour Ukrainian fighters and attend celebrations of Ukraine’s Unity Day, which marks Ukraine’s long struggle for independence from both its eastern and western neighbours.