Zelensky meets Duda on return from Washington
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky met with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, yesterday on his way back from the United States to thank him for Poland's support for Ukraine.
Posting on Telegram on Thursday, Zelensky wrote: "On the way home, I had a meeting with a friend of Ukraine – President of Poland Andrzej Duda.
"We summed up the year, which brought historic challenges due to a full-scale war.
"Also we discussed strategic plans for the future, bilateral relations and interactions at the international level in 2023."
Duda's office wrote on Twitter on Thursday that he and Zelensky "discussed the state of Polish-Ukrainian bilateral relations in the face of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine."
Jakub Kumoch, Duda's foreign policy aide, told the TVN 24 news broadcaster that "the Ukrainian side reported what they had heard in Washington."
Although the bulk of the information was confidential, "the message was very, very optimistic."
Kumoch said: "Russia counted on using the winter to incite in the West a weariness of the war and created a media narrative according to which some Western countries wanted to see immediate concessions...
“However, the Ukrainians received a very clear assurance from the USA that it was not the case and that the US will continue to stand by their side."
Poland and the United States are the only two countries the Ukrainian president has visited since Russia invaded his homeland on February 24.
Zelensky's visit to Washington was widely reported as being his first trip abroad since the start of Russia's invasion on February 24.
The wartime leader crossed into Poland early Wednesday morning by train arriving in Przemyśl in Podkarpackie near the border with Ukraine.
There, a white SUV car was waiting for him, which then drove off in a convoy towards Jasionka airport to the north of Rzeszów.
In the early-morning journey that normally takes just over an hour, Zelensky was driven past the towns of Jarosław and Łańcut, before arriving at Jasionka, which has become a major transport and logistics hub for the supply of arms, equipment and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
From there, Zelenskyy, accompanied by Bridget Brink, the U.S. ambassador to Kyiv, boarded a Boeing C-40 Clipper, which flew him nonstop to Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington.
In a cloak-and-dagger operation, the flight over the Atlantic was escorted by NATO aircraft: first a German Boeing AWACS spy plane provided security over the North Sea in which Russian submarines operate, and then American F-15 fighter jets taking off from bases in the UK escorted the flight over the Atlantic in a ten-hour flight, which landed in Washington at 10.00 am (18.00 Polish time).
On Wednesday morning, media reports about the US trip were confirmed on Twitter by Zelenski himself, writing: "On my way to the US to strengthen resilience and defense capabilities."