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Tusk rejects Zelensky's proposal to meet at border, says meeting already scheduled for March in Warsaw

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 22, 2024 11:09 PM 1 min read
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk speaks during a press conference after a government meeting in Warsaw, Poland, on Jan. 3, 2024. (Foto Olimpik/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk rejected President Volodymyr Zelensky's proposal to meet at the border of their countries to solve the ongoing blockade led by Polish farmers on Feb. 22, as he said a meeting between the two governments is already planned in March in Warsaw.

Zelensky said in a video message on Feb. 21 that the Polish government, including Tusk, should come to the border with Ukraine to meet its Ukrainian counterparts and solve the ongoing crisis.

Polish farmers launched a new wave of protests on the border in early February in response to Ukrainian agricultural imports and the EU's Green Deal. The situation escalated on Feb. 20, when some protesters dumped Ukrainian grain on railway tracks and displayed anti-Ukrainian posters.

The blockade also "increases the threat to the supply of weapons to our soldiers on the front lines," making the protests a meaning the protests a national security issue, Zelensky said.

"Ukraine wants to resolve the situation at the border together and justly," in a "pragmatic way," Zelensky captioned the video in Polish, urging Polish President Andrzej Duda to "support this dialogue."

Poland has supported Ukraine from the first days of the war, but Warsaw must protect the interests of Polish farmers, Tusk said at a press conference.

"We will look for protective solutions for Polish farmers, both through domestic methods, through the use of national funds, and through further negotiations with Ukraine and European institutions, so that the negative consequences of trade liberalization with Ukraine are less severe and eliminate them as much as possible," Tusk said.

"Polish farmers can count on me here."

At the same time, Poland plans to classify border crossings and some road sections as critical infrastructure to be able to "100% guarantee that military aid, equipment, ammunition, humanitarian and medical aid will reach the Ukrainian side without any delays."

The government will not tolerate protesters who spread Russian propaganda narratives, Tusk said, describing such actions as treasonous.

Tusk said that during his visit to Kyiv in January, the Polish and Ukrainian governments agreed to meet in Warsaw on March 28.

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