United States

Trump To Meet With Polish President Duda As NATO Leaders Call For Additional Support For Ukraine

The president of Poland, Andrzej Duda, is set to meet with presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. The meeting is being viewed as controversial in Poland amidst the US election campaign.

Donald Trump and Duda Photo: AP

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday in New York.

The planned dinner meeting, confirmed by a person familiar with the matter, comes as European leaders prepare for the possibility that Trump might win the November election and return to the White House. Leaders of NATO countries are especially concerned given Trump's long history of critical comments about the key western alliance, even after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The person was not authorised to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Duda himself told reporters before he departed Warsaw for New York on Tuesday that he hoped to meet with Trump “socially” if arrangements worked out, and one of his advisers defended the encounter which was viewed as controversial in Poland.

“Today here is no more important partner for the Republic of Poland in international relations than the United States, and this is exactly the context in which this meeting should be seen,” said the adviser, Malgorzata Paprocka,

Duda has long expressed admiration for Trump, at one point suggesting that a US based in Poland could be named “Fort Trump,” though that never happened. When Duda was in a close re-election race in 2020, President Trump hosted him at the White House, giving him a boost in a country that is one of America's staunchest allies.

Poland, which shares a border with Ukraine, is a NATO member.

Duda, a right-wing populist whose term ends in 2025, has encouraged the United States to send additional funding to Ukraine to combat Russian aggression.

Trump has spoken out against such funding, but in a possible shift late last week, the Republican presidential candidate said he may support additional funding if it was in the form of a loan.

Trump is in New York this week for the beginning of his criminal hush money trial, which has dramatically limited his campaign movements. He is now the first former president in US history to stand criminal trial.

Republicans in Washington, meanwhile, are fighting amongst themselves over a massive foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other allies. Trump's “Make America Great Again” movement has been especially critical of the Ukraine funding, a position in line with the GOP's softening stance on Russia since Trump's rise in US politics.

Trump has long praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling his invasion of Ukraine “smart” and “savvy.”

In February, he sent shockwaves across the globe after recounting during a rally that he had told NATO members who didn't spend enough on defense that he would “encourage” Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to them.

He reiterated that threat days later.

Such a move would undermine Article 5, which states that an armed attack against one NATO member or more shall be considered an attack against all members.

Poland's centrist Prime Minister Donald Tusk, a political opponent of Duda, was critical of the president for his willingness to meet with Trump, describing the expected meeting as a form of meddling in the US election campaign.

Tusk said that “a possible victory of President Trump would probably not be beneficial" for the security of Europe or NATO, nothing that “almost every speech of President Trump very clearly shows his anti-Ukrainian sentiment and a pro-Russian attitude.”

“But if Mr. President actually meets with Mr. Trump, we would expect him to raise the issue of clearly siding with the Western world, democracy and Europe in this Ukrainian-Russian conflict,” Tusk added.

Another NATO member and key proponent of supporting Ukraine, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, met with Trump at the former president's Florida estate earlier in the month ahead of a visit with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Russia's European allies have courted Trump as well.

Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, an autocrat who has maintained the closest relationship with Russia among all European Union countries, met privately with Trump last month.