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Former UK defence secretary hails Poland as Ukraine’s “truest friend”

"Ukraine is in Poland's debt, for its immediate and extraordinarily generous response," Fallon wrote. "But the rest of us owe Poland, too, not just for its open-hearted humanitarian response but for its persistent prescience in warning us against the Russian threat."
Will Oliver/PAP/EPA

Former UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has written in British newspaper The Telegraph that Poland is Ukraine’s “truest friend” and that other countries are in Poland’s debt.

“Over nine terrible months, Ukraine has certainly learnt who its friends are,” wrote Fallon, who headed the Ministry of Defence between 2014 and 2017 under David Cameron and Theresa May. “Britain has been steadfast, supplying training, weapons and strong political support. The United States, as always, has done the heaviest lifting of all, spending over USD 18 billion on munitions and other military equipment. But Ukraine‚Äôs truest friend is Poland.”

The former defence chief highlighted the fact that Poland had taken in the lion’s share of Ukrainian refugees and that its economy had taken the greatest hit, with GDP growth falling from 4 percent to 1.6 percent in 2023, “and it’s Poland that has unstintingly raided its own inventories to give Ukrainian troops the weapons that they desperately need to defend their homeland,” he wrote.

Fallon argued that although the missile that hit Poland on Tuesday was not fired by Russia, it made no difference.

“All the hostile missiles fired since February have been Russian,” he argued.

“Ukraine is in Poland’s debt, for its immediate and extraordinarily generous response,” Fallon wrote. “But the rest of us owe Poland, too, not just for its open-hearted humanitarian response but for its persistent prescience in warning us against the Russian threat.”

He said that throughout his time as defence secretary, it was Poland that “understood that threat most clearly, that pushed for a firmer Western response. Nato’s troop deployments in the Baltic states, in Poland itself, and its air defence in Romania, owe much to Polish leadership and pressure.

“And Poland should shame its Western allies into doing more to help,” the article continued. “Nearly eight million Ukrainians have crossed the border into Poland since February; over 20,000 more still arrive every day. They’re fed, housed, and given free travel and places in school for their children. Families across Poland have opened their doors to the biggest movement of people on our continent since the Second World War.

“Poland will spend a staggering EUR 8.4 billion on helping those Ukrainian refugees this year, yet has had a contribution of only EUR 144 million from the EU,” Fallon pointed out.

Fallon went on to write that Poland’s wealthier western neighbours are not contributing as much to the war effort and that Poland has granted more military aid than any other EU country, four times more than France, while Germany still “drags its feet” despite promises.


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