Foreign Policy Research Institute

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Foreign Policy Research Institute

tel. +38 (044) 287 52 58

Poland and Ukraine: the most reliable union cemented in the face of a common threat


After the election of Volodymyr Zelenskyy as a President, relations between Ukraine and Poland have improved significantly and reached a new level of partnership. This partnership is both supported by actual cooperation and enshrined in fundamental foreign policy documents. Relations with the Republic of Poland are defined as strategic in the National Security Strategy of Ukraine, adopted in 2020 as well as in the Foreign Policy Strategy of Ukraine adopted in 2021. The two states set aside differences over historical issues in order to strengthen the ability of both countries to counter Russian aggression and strengthen security in the Eastern European region as a whole. The establishing of the Lublin Triangle with Poland and Lithuania on July 28, 2020 laid the foundation for the foreign policy approach of the current leadership of Ukraine, specifically, the creation of flexible alliances aimed at solving certain issues.

Poland consistently supports Ukraine in the context of Russian aggression. Both countries have similar security threats and a vision of the ways of its resolution, which is one of the main prerequisites for creating a reliable alliance between the states. This also applies to opposition to the geopolitical project Nord Stream 2, as well as to the issue of solving energy security in general. In order to ensure energy security, besides countering the Russian gas project, Poland is working on the construction of a gas pipeline from Norway. The idea of ??building a Polish-Norwegian gas pipeline, which is planned to be put into operation as early as October 2022, fits into the Polish concept of building the Northern Gate gas pipeline. According to this plan, Poland should become completely independent from Russian gas through the construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal in Swinoujsk (operating), Baltic Pipe (under construction) and an LNG terminal in the Gulf of Gdansk (planned). On February 1, during a joint briefing by Mateusz Morawiecki with Denis Szmigal, the Prime Minister of Poland confirmed his intention to build a gas pipeline with Ukraine from the gas terminal in Swinoujsk to the eastern border of Poland. Thus, Poland and Ukraine are jointly overcoming the security threats they face after the construction of the German-Russian project Nord Stream 2. It is worth noting that Baltic Pipe is part of a larger North-South gas project, which, in contrast to Russian pipes, will create an alternative gas supply system in the region of Central and Eastern Europe from Croatia to Poland.[1]

In addition to the issue of gas, during recent high-level meetings, the two countries discussed the ways to resolve trade and logistics questions, which remained factors of tension in relations between the two countries. As a result of the negotiations, firstly, an agreement was reached on the abolition of restrictions on the transit of freight cars via Ukraine’s territory to Poland by rail. Secondly, the parties agreed on a significant increase in the number of permits for international freight transportation, considering the needs of Ukrainian and Polish road carriers. Thirdly, Ukraine and Poland will develop a common action plan aimed at significantly improving the efficiency of road checkpoints. Fourthly, the parties agreed to revise the provisions of the Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of the Republic of Poland on international road transport. Thus, the strategic partnership of the two states receives a further impetus for its deepening. The contradictions between Kyiv and Warsaw are gradually decreasing, and the positive dynamics cover a wide range of areas of interaction: from trade to a military-political cooperation.

Poland supports Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, being one of the first countries to sign the Declaration on Ukraine's European Perspective. Ukraine's accession to the EU would strengthen the leader of Eastern Europe within the organization. After all, the country would have one more reliable partner in an organization where the imbalance and contradictions between the Eastern European and Western European member states are growing. At the same time, in terms of security, threat perception of Poland can be explained by the phrase of ex-president Lech Kaczynski, who in 2008, when Russia attacked Georgia, noted that Ukraine would be next, then the Baltic countries and then Poland. Therefore, Warsaw had no doubts about providing Ukraine with defense weapons. As the Head of the Bureau of International Policy of the President of the Republic of Poland Jakub Kumoch stated, «the security of Ukraine is the security of the Republic of Poland.[2] Negotiations between the two states on the provision of military assistance was held without fanfare, discreetly. After Volodymyr Zelenskyy's visit to Warsaw on January 20-21, Ukraine's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Poland, Andriy Deshchytsia, confirmed the intention of the Polish side to provide ammunition to Ukraine. Even before his visit to Kyiv, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that in light of the threat to Ukraine's sovereignty, not only diplomatic gestures are needed, but also real assistance, and his country is ready to provide it to its neighbor.[3] Already being in the capital of Ukraine, Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed that the country is ready to transfer several tens of thousands of shells and artillery ammunition to Ukraine as well as «Grom» anti-aircraft missile systems, light mortars, reconnaissance drones and other types of defense weapons.

Thus, Ukraine's strategic relations with the Republic of Poland are gradually deepening in the interests of both countries. The main factor of such rapprochement and the main threat to both states is Russian aggression. Military assistance, development of economic ties, as well as coordination of energy policy, further implementation of announced joint projects, contribute to strengthening the security of both Ukraine and Poland. Warsaw is pursuing a policy of regional leadership, trying to unite the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The state is involved in such formats as the Bucharest Nine, the Visegrad Four, the Lublin Triangle, etc. Now a new format of Ukraine, Great Britain and Poland is being created. The United Kingdom is playing an increasingly active role and will continue to be one of the major players in the region and an ally of the two Eastern European countries. The network of alliances currently formed in the area from the Baltic to the Black Sea may in the future be transformed into a Baltic-Black Sea security belt.