Poland's new foreign minister vowed renewed support for Ukraine in his first official visit abroad, as other allies waver on aid.
Ukraine hailed the visit as a “sign of respect” and both sides expressed hope that the blockade by Polish haulers at their shared border would end soon.
Air alarms sounded during their meeting, warning of a potential new raid from Russia, which has intensified air attacks in the past weeks.
“These air sirens that we hear now is the reason why I am here,” the Polish minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.
“It's completely unacceptable for a country to attack its neighbor and bomb cities, destroy entire provinces, deport children... In this titanic fight, minister, Poland is on your side.”
Poland had been one of Ukraine's staunchest allies since Russia invaded in February 2022.
But ahead of Polish elections in October, the then-governing Law and Justice party lobbied for votes by leveraging fatigue over the conflict.
Poland became embroiled in a row with Ukraine over grain imports, and the outgoing government said it would restrict arms deliveries to Kyiv.
But the administration led by former European Council president Donald Tusk that took office this month has pledged to double down on support for Ukraine.
- 'Fruitful dialogue' -
“There is a feeling, an understanding that with this new Polish government and specifically (minister) Sikorski... there will be a very fruitful dialogue between Ukraine and Poland,” Kuleba said.
The month-long blockade at the Ukraine border by Polish haulers was top of the agenda.
When the war began in February 2022, the EU waived restrictions for Ukrainian road carriers to enter the bloc to ease the cargo traffic in and out the war-torn country.
But Polish transport companies say the move undercuts their earnings and have been blocking the border with Ukraine – which heavily relies on the route for its exports and imports.
“The first thing to do is to unblock the border, because the situation in which our friendly relations find themselves – in the shadow of the blocked border – is unacceptable and harmful,” Kuleba told his Polish counterpart.
Sikorski was optimistic that the talks held with Kuleba “can lead to a solution.”
“We must restore conditions of fair competition so that everyone benefits from trade and transport,” Sikorski said.
His visit comes as fatigue builds among Kyiv's allies nearly two years into the war.
- Relentless attacks -
In the US, Senate leaders said Tuesday that Washington would not be able to approve new aid for Ukraine before the year's end.
And Hungary blocked a €50 billion ($55 billion) European Union aid package for Ukraine, though Ukraine did win a symbolic victory when the bloc opened formal membership negotiations with Ukraine – but any actual accession is years away.
Holding up aid could soon impact the course of the war, with Russian forces continuing their assaults on parts of the front and launching nightly aerial attacks.
In the latest barrage, Ukrainian armed forces said they downed 24 out of 28 Iranian-made drones, including on the capital Kyiv.
Russian missiles and drones frequently target the Ukrainian capital and are usually shot down by air defense systems, bolstered by Western weapons.
But on Thursday night “a residential building in Kyiv (was hit) by a Shahed,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's chief of staff Andriy Yermak wrote on Telegram.
Two residents were wounded in the attack, according to local authorities.
Kyiv's military administration published photos on social media of apartment buildings with windows blown out, saying debris from a downed drone had caused the damage rather than a direct strike.
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