Top Polish leader to visit White House, hopes to push US to help Ukraine more

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden is hosting the president and prime minister of Poland for White House talks on Tuesday, with Polish leaders pressing Washington to break their impasse over funding for Ukraine at a critical moment in the war in Europe. Want to put.

Ahead of the visit, President Andrzej Duda called on other members of the NATO alliance to increase their spending on defense to 3% of their GDP as Russia puts its economy on a war footing and advances its plans to conquer Ukraine. Used to be. Poland already spends 4% of its economic output on defense, double the current NATO target of 2%.

“The war in Ukraine has clearly shown that the United States is and must remain the leader in security issues in Europe and the world,” Duda said in an address to Poland on Monday. “However, other NATO countries must also take greater responsibility for the security of the entire alliance and deeply modernize and strengthen their troops.”

In a Washington Post article highlighting his call for greater NATO spending, Duda argued that Russia is turning its economy into “war mode”, spending nearly 30% of its annual budget on arming itself. Is allocating to.

“These figures and other data coming from Russia are worrying,” Duda wrote. “Vladimir Putin’s regime poses the greatest threat to global peace since the end of the Cold War.”

The Biden administration suggested that Duda’s call to increase defense spending targets for NATO countries, at least for the time being, may be overly ambitious.

“I think the first step is to get every country to meet the 2% threshold, and we’ve seen improvements in that,” said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. “But I think this is a first step before we start talking about additional proposals.”

Biden invited Duda and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to meetings to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Poland joining NATO, a historic step to the West after Poland broke free from Moscow’s sphere of influence after decades of communist rule. raised.

The visit also comes amid a standoff in Washington between Democrat Biden and House Republicans over Ukraine funding. House Republicans have blocked a $118 billion bipartisan package that includes $60 billion in Ukraine funding as well as funds for Israel, Taiwan and U.S. border security.

Duda met US lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Tuesday ahead of their meeting at the White House. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. Duda gave a clear warning: If the US does not provide military assistance to stop Russia’s advance, Poland will be on the front lines of a conflict that will involve European and American troops.

Speaking to reporters before boarding his plane in Warsaw, Duda said that while the talks in Washington would celebrate an anniversary, they would first focus on European security and “about Russian imperialist policy, which is back.”

The visit gives Biden another chance to show how his approach to NATO, the 32-member transatlantic military alliance, differs with that of presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Trump has said that when he was president, he warned NATO allies that he would encourage Russia to do “whatever they want” with “delinquent” countries in meeting the alliance’s defense spending targets. . White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Polish leaders’ visit is an opportunity to reflect on the countries’ shared commitment to the NATO alliance that keeps us all safe.

Fears are growing across Europe over the fate of Ukraine as its ammunition reserves dwindle and Russia gains the battlefield lead in Ukraine, reversing its weak military performance at the start of the war that began in February 2022. Have achieved.

Duda and Tusk, who are also scheduled to meet with U.S. lawmakers in Washington, are expected to add their voices to House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.,’s call to advance the Senate-passed aid package. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni have also visited Washington in recent weeks to highlight the impact on Europe of the country’s impasse over Ukraine funding.

“The situation on the frontlines is really serious,” said Michael Baranowski, managing director of Warsaw-based GMF East, the German Marshall Fund think tank. “We’re not talking about something that can be fixed by June or July but needs to be fixed in March or April.”

During his State of the Union address last week, Biden said, “If anyone in this room thinks Putin will stop in Ukraine, I assure you: He will not.”

According to Polish media, this is the first time in a quarter century that a Polish president and prime minister are in Washington at the same time and that both leaders have been welcomed at the White House at the same time. The gesture is widely seen as an acknowledgment of the seriousness of this historical moment, with Ukraine’s strength waning while Russian strength is growing.


Associated Press writer Stephen Groves contributed reporting.

Disclaimer: This post has been automatically published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – The Associated Press)