Polish PM heads to Washington to expand defense ties with US

Morawiecki slated to meet VP Kamala Harris and leaders of major US defense companies in 3-day visit following multiple Biden visits to Warsaw

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, right, greets US Vice President Kamala Harris as she arrives for a meeting, in Warsaw, Poland, March 10, 2022. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, right, greets US Vice President Kamala Harris as she arrives for a meeting, in Warsaw, Poland, March 10, 2022. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)

WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki flew Tuesday to the United States for meetings aimed at strengthening the economic and defense cooperation of the two nations.

Morawiecki is due to meet with US Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday at the White House for talks, including on further support for Ukraine. He is also scheduled to have meetings with the representatives of American defense companies during his three-day visit.

“I am flying to the United States to strengthen the alliance with our most powerful ally, with a country that guarantees security in Europe, that especially guarantees security in our part of Europe,” Morawiecki said.

Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, the United States increased its military presence in Poland — a nation on NATO’s eastern flank that borders Ukraine and Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave — and has used Poland as a transit country for military and humanitarian aid going into Ukraine.

Poland is also a major donor of aid to Ukraine, and has been ordering fighter jets, tanks and other modern military equipment, mostly from US and South Korean producers, to strengthen its own forces and replace some older equipment sent to Ukraine.

As Europe seeks to gain energy independence, Poland is also planning to build nuclear power plants, and has chosen the US government and Westinghouse as its partners for its first plant, to be opened in 2033.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki leaves after an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, on March 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, Pool)

Before departing Warsaw early Tuesday, Morawiecki told reporters at the airport that Polish-American relations “have not been so good for a long time, and perhaps they have never been so strong.”

He said his talks with the US defense industry will also include talks on financing the billions of dollars of current and planned purchases. Poland is buying US F-35 fighter jets, Abrams tanks, HIMARS artillery systems and Patriot missile launching units.

Morawiecki’s visit follows two visits to Poland by US President Joe Biden since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also paid an official visit to Warsaw last week.

The prime minister said Poland’s alliance with the US is “an absolute foundation of our security.”

“It is based on two pillars: economic and defense cooperation. I am going to the US to strengthen both of these pillars,” he said.

Morawiecki said that US companies have invested some $25 billion in Poland, creating thousands of jobs.

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