Zelenskyy Stresses Unity In Call With Polish President, Speaks With Belgian PM As He Takes Helm Of EU Council


(RFE/RL) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on January 9 discussed further defense cooperation and Ukraine’s air-defense needs in a phone call with Polish President Andrzej Duda. 

Zelenskiy and Duda also discussed the issue of financial and political support from the European Union and exchanged views on the expected decisions of NATO at its summit in Washington in July, Zelenskiy’s press office said.

“I am convinced that the future of Ukraine and Poland lies in unity, mutual support, and mutually beneficial cooperation,” Zelenskiy said during his call with Duda, according to the press office.

He also expressed his gratitude for Poland’s unwavering support for Ukraine as a constant ally on Kyiv’s path to joining the EU and NATO.

“Our common border should be a real European border. Border of unity. There should be no borders between our nations,” he said.

There’s been no comment on the call from Poland.

Poland and Ukraine have been working to defuse a dispute involving farmers, who began blocking border crossings with Ukraine in November. The farmers agreed to unblock one checkpoint but continue to block others demanding the return of permits for Ukrainian drivers.

Zelenskiy also spoke on January 9 with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and congratulated Belgium on assuming the presidency of the EU Council.

“I appreciate that support for Ukraine and international law is among its priorities,” Zelenskiy said on X, formerly Twitter. “We appreciate the December decision to open Ukraine’s EU accession talks, and we anticipate that with Belgium’s support, our country will make significant progress toward implementing further formal steps on this path.”

He said he also discussed bilateral defense cooperation with De Croo as well as the coordination of European defense assistance and the importance of approving 50 billion euros in EU financial assistance.

On the battlefield, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, Ukrainian Commander in Chief Valeriy Zaluzhniy, and Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Serhiy Shaptala visited positions of the Ukrainian military near Kupyansk, the press service of the Defense Ministry said on Telegram.

General Oleksandr Syrskiy, the commander of the Kupyansk sector of the front, briefed them on the situation around Kupyansk, where Ukrainian soldiers have repelled near constant attempts by Russian forces, who the ministry have had no success in the area.

“I had the honor to meet with the commanders of the units that are fighting in this direction now. Reported on the situation, current challenges. Decisions will be made in the near future. The enemy will not like it,” Umerov said. 

In the Kharkiv region, regional Governor Oleh Synyehubov said on Ukrainian television that the Russian Army has resumed its assault on Synkivka, a village near Kupyansk. There had been a lull in the fighting there due to difficult weather conditions and the damage that Ukrainian forces caused to the Russian troops. 

According to Synyehubov, the attacks of the Russian Army come in waves, which is predictable, and they can be repulsed without any problems.

On January 4, The Telegraph, a British newspaper, reported that Russian troops could launch a “large-scale offensive” in the Kharkiv region as early as January 15. 

The Ukrainian military intelligence directorate has confirmed that they have observed an accumulation of Russian forces and equipment in the region, but they cannot confirm when the assault will start.


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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