West must help Ukraine more to prevent spillover, Polish FM says

By Thomson Reuters Feb 26, 2024 | 3:10 PM

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s new foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, urged Warsaw’s Western allies on Monday to step up aid to Ukraine in its war with Russia to ensure the conflict does not spill over the border elsewhere in Europe.

Sikorski also again called on the Republican Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, who has so far blocked passage of a bill that includes $60 billion in new funding for Ukraine, to allow a vote.

After initial successes in pushing back the Russian army, Ukraine has suffered setbacks on the eastern battlefields, with its president reiterating that Ukraine’s victory depends on continued Western support.

Sikorski outlined three steps in a speech at the Atlantic Council think-tank in Washington – back Ukraine with ammunition, invest in a security deterrence and deepen alliances to secure a lasting peace from what he called “a position of strength”.

“We need to take these steps not to escalate the war in Ukraine, but to prevent an even bigger global conflict, which currently slides ever closer towards our borders,” he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden and top officials are pushing for the vote on what the White House says is a critically needed funding bill for Ukraine that is opposed by former President Donald Trump.

“If America cannot come together with Europe and enable Ukraine to drive Putin back, I fear that our family of democratic nations will start to break up,” Sikorski said.

One of Ukraine’s staunchest allies, Poland had struggled to have its foreign policy goals fully heard under the previous nationalist government, which was embroiled in a row with the West over rule of law standards.

The appointment of Sikorski, a seasoned envoy, following an election victory by a pro-European alliance, is intended to give Warsaw more clout in the international arena, diplomats said.

(Reporting by Anna Koper; Editing by Alison Williams)