Polish President Andrzej Duda (R) and former US President Donald Trump (L) moments before the meeting at Trump Tower in New York, 17 April 2024 (. President Andrzej Duda announced that it was in Poland's interest to present important issues to all influential politicians among allies. EPA-EFE/RADEK PIETRUSZKA


Polish President Duda lobbies Trump on Ukraine aid


Polish President Andrzej Duda had dinner with former US president Donald Trump over which they discussed the wars in Ukraine and Middle East as well as NATO members’ defence spending.

The meeting at Trump Tower, where the former US president is staying during his New York trial, was given wide coverage by Trump campaigners and the Polish media.

At a photo-call with Duda ahead of the dinner, Trump said: “We had four great years together, we may have to do it again.”

He was alluding to the fact that he and Duda had worked closely during the former’s term as president (2016-2020) with the co-operation leading to an enhanced US military presence in Poland.

It also resulted in an agreement regarding US support for Poland’s nuclear-power programme, Poland’s purchasing of US liquid natural gas in an effort to reduce dependence on Russian gas and US support for Polish diplomatic and economic efforts such as the so-called Three Seas Initiative. That is designed to promote co-operation between 13 European nations and their partners in the energy, transport and digital sectors.

Trump and Duda share a longstanding and warm relationship, as evidenced by Duda previously proposing to name a military base in Poland “Fort Trump” and visiting the White House during Trump’s re-election campaign in 2020.

Duda was also one of the few European leaders who backed Trump’s insistence that European members of NATO spend more on defence.

It was therefore little surprise that at their Trump-Tower dinner, the two discussed Duda’s proposal for NATO member states to increase their defence spending to 3 per cent of GDP.

Duda recently penned an opinion piece in The Washington Post in which he called for that NATO spending increase, arguing: “Russia’s imperialistic ambitions and aggressive revisionism are pushing Moscow toward a direct confrontation with NATO.”

Trump has stated, that if re-elected as president, he will insist on NATO member states meeting their spending commitments to NATO or he would not be prepared to defend them from Russian aggression.

The pair also discussed the conflicts involving Ukraine and Israel. While they broadly agree over the Middle East, with Poland having backed Trump’s initiatives in that region when he was president, there is some divergence between them over Ukraine.

Trump has said he would negotiate for peace, which has been seen widely as his being prepared to make concessions to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In contrast, Duda has been one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies in its efforts to repel the invasion and has urged US President Joe Biden to provide more assistance to the Ukrainians.

Last month, Duda and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk met Biden to discuss providing further military aid to Kyiv. Although Duda, a conservative, and Tusk, who leads the centre-left Polish Government, do not see eye-to-eye domestically, they united in Washington to advocate for US support for Ukraine.

Duda’s dinner-date with Trump was part of a series of meetings the American has had in recent months with global leaders including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, British foreign secretary David Cameron, Argentine President Javier Milei and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.