Ukraine president Zelensky arrives in Poland to deepen ties with key Western ally

WARSAW – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in neighbouring Poland on Wednesday, a Polish presidential aide said, as he begins an official visit to a close ally that has galvanised Western military and political support for Kyiv.

The visit, which was announced this week by Poland but has not been officially confirmed by Kyiv, comes with Ukraine planning to conduct a counter-offensive in the coming weeks or months to recapture occupied land in its east and south.

“I can say that President Zelensky has crossed the Polish border,” Mr Marcin Przydacz told private broadcaster TVN24 on Wednesday.

In televised comments on Tuesday ahead of the visit, Mr Przydacz said the visit “should be taken as a sign of trust and of thanking Poland and Poles”.

Poland has taken in more than a million Ukrainian refugees over the past 13 months of war. The Nato member has also played an important role in persuading other Western powers to supply battle tanks and other weaponry to Ukraine.

Military deliveries have been vital for Ukraine to fend off and fight back Russian forces that poured over the Ukrainian border in February 2022. Swathes of Ukraine remain occupied in the south and the east.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Tuesday that Kyiv was grateful to Poland for clearing the way for deliveries of MiG fighter jets. Mr Przydacz said earlier this week the first MiGs had already been delivered to Ukraine.

“MiGs from Poland will significantly strengthen our defence, allow us to make our skies safer, save the lives of our citizens and also reduce the destruction caused by Russian attacks,” Ukraine’s Reznikov wrote on Telegram messaging app.

Mr Zelensky will meet President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on the trip, and speak to Ukrainian refugees and Polish members of the public, Mr Przydacz said.

“It will not be a surprise to anyone that the Ukrainian side will ask Poland and other foreign partners for more support… but we must be aware that we as Poland have already really done a lot,” he said.

Poland has said talks will focus on developments on Ukrainian front lines, international support and economic cooperation, he said.

Ukraine’s presidential office has not said anything in advance about the trip or what it will focus on.

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