Ukrainian FM praises Polish counterpart for visiting Kiev

Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Poland had been a long-term ally and a reliable friend, and added that the strengthening of the Ukrainian-Polish strategic partnership was very important given that Russia has been posing a threat to Ukraine, Europe and the transatlantic community. Marcin Obara/PAP

The Ukrainian foreign minister has praised his Polish counterpart for visiting Kiev amid rising tensions between Kiev and Moscow over the long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Poland had been a long-term ally and a reliable friend, and added that the strengthening of the Ukrainian-Polish strategic partnership was very important given that Russia has been posing a threat to Ukraine, Europe and the transatlantic community.

Kuleba wrote on Twitter that the meeting with his Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau was planned to be held at a later date, but, due to the current situation, the Polish foreign minister had changed his plans and had come to Kiev earlier.

On Thursday, the Polish Foreign Ministry wrote on Twitter that Rau was to pay "an extraordinary, urgent visit" to Kiev due to the existing threat to peace on the Ukrainian border.

Kiev has raised the alarm over a build-up of Russian forces on the border, and over an increase in violence along the line of contact separating Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine's Donbass region.

Russia says the troop movements are defensive and a senior Russian official has said Moscow has no plans to intervene in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which Kiev says has killed 14,000 people since 2014. Russia, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, has denied sending troops and heavy weapons to Donbass.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday that a path towards membership of Nato was the only way to end the war in the eastern Donbass region after speaking to Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance's secretary general, by phone.

He also called on Nato member states to strengthen their military presence in the Black Sea region to act as a "powerful deterrent" to Russia.