“It is very important to create the feeling that Poland is Ukraine’s most reliable and stable ally in this deadly confrontation with evil,” Donald Tusk said.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk arrived in the Ukrainian capital on Monday for talks with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The two will discuss how Poland can continue to support Ukraine’s nearly two-year war with Russia and resolve a dispute between the neighbors over grain shipments and trucking.
Tusk, who returned to power in Poland last month, is keen to demonstrate that a change of government does not mean a change of policy towards Ukraine.
He was also due to meet Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
“There are 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 of solving these problems as soon as possible, not of maintaining or multiplying them,” Tusk said .
This is according to comments published by his office on X, formerly Twitter.
“For me it is very important to create the feeling that Poland is Ukraine’s most reliable and stable ally in this deadly confrontation with evil,” Tusk said.
His visit came a day after Moscow-based officials in eastern Ukraine reported that Ukrainian shelling had killed at least 27 people in Donetsk.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the bombing in Russian-controlled territory as a “monstrous terrorist act”, while local authorities declared a day of mourning.
The Ukrainian military denied being involved in the attack.
It was not immediately possible to verify both sides’ claims.
Support from European countries
Ukraine’s allies have sought to reassure the country in recent weeks of their commitment to long-term defense against Kremlin forces, amid fears that Western support could wane.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the new French Foreign Minister also recently visited Kiev.
Located 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 when economic competition from Ukrainian food producers and truck drivers angered Poles who said their livelihoods were in danger.
Polish farmers and truck drivers have blocked border crossings, causing traffic jams and threatening the flow of aid to Ukraine.
Polish farmers complained that imports of Ukrainian food had caused prices to fall, hurting their incomes, while truck drivers said they were being undercut by their Ukrainian colleagues.
The issue came to a head during the war, when Ukrainian ports were blockaded and food producers relied on road routes across Europe to get their products to market.
At one point, Poland and some other European countries banned wheat imports from Ukraine due to the trade dispute.
Polish farmers and truck drivers have put an end to their protests for now, but Tusk is looking for ways to address their concerns. He said that his country wants to help Ukraine economically, but not at the expense of Polish companies. He suggested that Ukraine needs to better regulate its transport sector.
Tusk was also expected to honor Ukrainian fighters and participate in celebrations of the Day of Unity of Ukraine, which marks Ukraine’s long struggle for independence from its eastern and western neighbors.