Ukraine’s fate hangs in balance, Polish prime minister says

| | Warsaw
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Ukraine’s fate hangs in balance, Polish prime minister says

Friday, 23 February 2024 | AP | Warsaw

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Thursday that the border crossings with Ukraine are being added to a list of critical infrastructure to ensure that all military and humanitarian aid can reach Ukraine without any delays.

“The fate of Ukraine is hanging in the balance and I don’t need to convince anyone that this means that our fate is also hanging in the balance,” said Tusk, whose country is located along NATO’s eastern flank and borders Ukraine.

Tusk spoke following protests by angry Polish farmers that have included border blockades and the spilling of Ukrainian grain from freight trains at a Polish border crossing. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy said on Wednesday that the blockade was hampering the transport of military supplies to Ukrainian forces on the front line.

Poland is one of the main staging posts for Western military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Poland has donated many of its own weapons but transports from other NATO countries often pass through the large central European nation. Tusk disputed that any military equipment intended for Ukraine was being held up. However, he said that border crossings and sections of roads and railway tracks will now be added to a list of critical infrastructure to ensure “a 100 per cent guarantee that military and humanitarian aid will reach the Ukrainian side without any delays.”

Polish farmers, like farmers across Europe, have been in revolt against Ukrainian food that has been entering the European Union market. They say the cheaper produce is driving down prices. They have also protested EU climate policies which they say will increase their costs and hurt their bottom line.

Following protests in Poland this week, Zelenskyy publicly appealed to Tusk for a meeting of the two governments at their joint border ahead of the second anniversary Saturday of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tusk, however, said on Thursday a meeting of the two governments would only happen March 28.

Tusk said that Poland’s support for Ukraine is unwavering. But he also stressed that he was working to address the legitimate concerns of Polish farmers and to help Brussels and Kyiv understand their point of view.

He also denounced slogans in favour of Russian President Vladimir Putin which appeared at protests earlier this week in Poland, something Poland’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said could be the work of Russian agents.

Referring to the slogans, Tusk said: “Any such attack in public space or support for Putin’s narrative is high treason and I hope that both protesters and all services will draw the right conclusions from it.”

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