WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife arrived in Poland on Wednesday for a state visit billed as a gesture of gratitude to the neighboring country for its steadfast support in defending Ukraine from Russian invasion.
The visit is a rare foray from Ukraine for Zelensky since Russia launched a war in February 2022. While it follows visits to the US, UK, France and Belgium, it stands out from the rest because it was announced in advance without secrecy. about past visits.
It is also unusual that the first lady Olena Zelenska joined the president. The head of the foreign policy office of Polish President Andrzej Duda, Marcin Przydach, described it as the first such visit by Zelensky since the start of the war.
He said that Zelenskiy had already crossed the Polish border before the morning meeting with Duda. In the afternoon, Zelenskiy will also meet with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and he should meet some of the Ukrainians who have found refuge in Poland.
Warsaw has been a key ally for Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion last year, hosting large numbers of refugees and becoming a hub for humanitarian aid and arms transit into Ukraine.
But Zelenskiy’s visit also comes at a delicate time, with Polish farmers growing increasingly angry as Ukrainian grain entering Poland has caused a glut, causing prices to fall.
The grain is only meant for storage and transit through Poland to reach international markets, but Polish farmers say the grain is staying in Poland, taking up space in silos and entering local markets, leading to lower local prices for farmers. Romanian and Bulgarian farmers say they are facing the same problem.
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