Polish leaders visit White House with hope of spurring US to send more aid to Ukraine

President Joe Biden, right, is greeted by Polish President Andrzej Duda, Feb. 22, 2023, at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.
President Joe Biden, right, is greeted by Polish President Andrzej Duda, Feb. 22, 2023, at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw. Copyright AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File
By Euronews with AP
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It is the first time in a quarter-century that a Polish president and prime minister have visited Washington at the same time.

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Poland’s president and prime minister will visit the White House on Tuesday in an attempt to spur the US to send more aid to Ukraine, at a time when the new funds remain stalled in Congress.

US President Joe Biden invited Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Donald Tusk for meetings to mark the 25th anniversary of Poland’s accession to NATO, a historic step for the country after breaking free from Moscow’s sphere of influence.

Duda and Tusk will also meet with US lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday, asking them to pass a new package delivering military aid to Kyiv and break the standoff between Congress's two parties. While the Senate has passed a $118 billion (€108 billion) bipartisan package including $60 billion (€55 billion) in Ukraine funding, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is refusing to bring it to the floor for a vote.

The visit comes at a time when Poland is trying to motivate the West to increase its defence spending to match Russia’s efforts.

“The war in Ukraine has clearly shown that the United States is and should remain the leader in security issues in Europe and the world,” Duda said in an address to his country on Monday.

“However, other NATO countries must also take greater responsibility for the security of the entire alliance and intensively modernise and strengthen their troops.”

Speaking to reporters before boarding his plane in Warsaw, Duda said that while the talks in Washington would celebrate an anniversary, they would above all focus on European security going forward and "about Russian imperial policy, which has returned.”

Polish media noted that this trip will be the first time in a quarter-century that a Polish president and prime minister have both visited Washington at the same time, highlighting the seriousness of this historical moment.

Concerns are growing over the future of the conflict in Ukraine, as Kyiv is currently running low on ammunition and needs to have its stocks replenished soon. At the same time, Russia appears to be gaining ground on the battlefield, a major contrast to the weakness and disorganisation its forces displayed in 2022 and much of 2023.

The visit will also give Biden a chance to articulate how he views the role of NATO in the near future.

His rival Donald Trump, whom he’s likely to face in a rematch at the November 5 election, recently said that were he to retake the White House, NATO countries who do not contribute their "fair share" to the alliance would be left at Russia's mercy.

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