Poland pledges military help to Ukraine

Poland pledges military help to Ukraine
Morawiecki said Poland, Ukraine and the UK were working on a potential format that could tighten cooperation.
By Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw February 1, 2022

Poland stands united with Ukraine and will offer military help to deter “potential aggression from Russia’s side,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in Kyiv on February 1.

Morawiecki visited Kyiv in a show of solidarity, as Ukraine confronts the  Russian military build-up along its borders. The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was also in Kyiv on the same day.

Poland has long been Ukraine’s ally and advocate of its interests in the EU. Warsaw became particularly vocal about Ukraine’s sovereignty and security after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and again last year following the completion of the Russia-Germany gas link, Nord Stream 2.

"This is the moment when all Europe and the entire Western world must unite for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Morawiecki told a joint press conference with the Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. The Polish PM also met President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Morawiecki pledged military support to Ukraine by sending munitions, mortars, reconnaissance drones, and other “defence weaponry”. 

“We are ready to give Ukraine tens of thousands in artillery and ammunitions rounds, but also surface-to-air weapons of the Grom class and light mortar systems, as well as drones," Morawiecki said.

Poland would also work with Ukraine to expand infrastructure for bigger gas flows from the West using Polish LNG terminals, the Polish PM said.

Warsaw is concerned that once Nord Stream is officially approved to operate, Russia will limit or stop sending gas through Ukraine, ridding the country of a source of energy and of transit fees.

In that vein, Poland has been critical of Germany for not coming up with strong enough support for Ukraine and called on Berlin to stop the launch of Nord Stream 2.

"Through launching this pipeline, Berlin is loading [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's pistol, which he can then use to blackmail the whole of Europe," Morawiecki said.

At odds with the EU on a number of issues, Poland also seemed keen to help forge an alliance with Ukraine – whose prospects of joining the EU are currently far in the future – and the former EU member Britain.

“[We are] working on a potential format that could tighten cooperation on various fields between Poland, Ukraine and Britain,” Morawiecki said.

While the Polish PM engaged in Kyiv, his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban delivered a different message by visiting Moscow and meeting Putin on the same day.

While ahead of the Moscow visit Orban underlined the talks would concern economy and trade, the Hungarian PM described his talks with Putin as a “peace mission”.

“I would like to assure you that no EU leader wants war or conflict. We are ready for a rational agreement," Orban said, according to AFP.

Hungary, which is keen to increase gas imports from Russia – which several other EU member states say is using gas supplies as geopolitical leverage – has been reserved about adding to Nato's deterrence capacity amidst tension with Russia.