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Ukraine seeks trilateral partnership with Poland, UK

February 1, 2022

Ukraine, Poland and Britain are looking to form a partnership to strengthen regional security. The buildup of tens of thousands of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border has prompted fears of an invasion.

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Ukraine's Prime Minister Denis Shmygal pose for media before their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine
Ukrainian prime minister, right, said talks with Poland's Mateusz Morawiecki were 'substantive and fruitful'Image: Ukrainian Prime Minister Press Office/AP Photo/picture alliance

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal and his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, said Tuesday that they were working with Britain to boost three-way cooperation in the face of "Russian aggression."

The announcement came as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kyiv for talks. 

In a joint press conference with Morawiecki in Ukraine's capital, Shmygal said: "I hope that, in the near future, we will be able to officially launch a new regional format of cooperation Ukraine-Poland-UK. In the context of ongoing Russian aggression, we should sign a trilateral document on cooperation to strengthen regional security." 

Poland and Britain have both offered security aid to Kyiv amid a buildup of tens of thousands of Russian troops near Ukraine's borders in recent weeks. 

Poland to help supply armaments

The Polish prime minister addressed the threat he said Russia posed: "Living close to a neighbor like Russia, we have the feeling of living at the foot of a volcano," Morawiecki said, while adding that Ukraine would receive artillery ammunition, along with mortars, mobile air-defense system, and drones.

Poland has expressed its concerns in the past about Russia's threat to regional security.

Last year, Warsaw's defense chief cited "Russia's imperial ambition" as being one of the reasons behind a new  homeland defense bill that could see troop numbers more than double.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday signed a decree to bolster his country's armed forces by 100,000 troops, bringing the total number to 350,000 over a three-year period.

Zelenskyy called for calm and said he made the decision "not because we will soon have war ... but so that soon and in the future there will be peace in Ukraine."

Poland's Nord Stream 2 concerns

The Polish prime minister also called on Germany not to proceed with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Morawiecki said that the supply line from Russia presented significant security risks.

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

Germany depends on natural gas imports, much of which come from Russia.

Berlin has also refused to supply Kyiv with weapons and has sought dialogue with the Kremlin as a way of easing tensions.

kb/nm (AFP, Reuters)