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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Returning from Washington, Zelenskyy meets with Polish president

President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, in Washington.

By Andrew Higgins

Heading home after a hero’s welcome in Washington, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine stopped off in Poland on Thursday for his second meeting with a foreign president in two days, capping a hectic flurry of diplomacy aimed at thanking his country’s most robust allies and cementing their support.

Zelenskyy met for two hours with Polish President Andrzej Duda near the airport in the southeastern Polish city of Rzeszow, a major transit point for Western weapons flowing into nearby Ukraine and for refugees fleeing Ukraine into Poland.

The exact location of the meeting, held a day after Zelenskyy met President Joe Biden at the White House, was kept secret for security reasons. Video of his arrival at the Rzeszow airport showed Zelenskyy bounding down the steps of his plane dressed in green cargo pants, heavy boots and a military-style winter jacket.

Duda, in a message posted on Twitter, said that the two leaders had discussed “strategic plans for actions and cooperation in the upcoming 2023,” reaffirming Poland’s strong support for Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself against Russia’s military.

Poland, which shares a long border with Ukraine, has taken in millions of Ukrainian refugees since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February — far more than any other country — and has provided strong diplomatic and military support. Duda visited the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in April, blazing a trail since taken by many other foreign leaders and dignitaries.

A statement from the office of the Polish president said that the Ukrainian leader had briefed Duda on his trip to Washington and discussed Ukraine’s relations with Poland “in face of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine.” It gave no details.

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