Polish Foreign Affairs Minister visits Ukraine to discuss conflict in Donbass

On Thursday, Polish Foreign Affairs Minister, Zbigniew Rau visits Ukraine where he will discuss the escalating situation in Donbass region with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.

The visit started with a ceremony at the St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kiev during which the heads of Polish and Ukrainian diplomacy paid tribute to the memory of thousands of victims of Russian aggression in Ukraine.

The aggravation of the situation in Donbass, but also the significant concentration of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, are the main topics that will be discussed during Minister Zbigniew Rau's visit to Kiev.

Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Poland had been a long-term ally and a reliable friend, and added that the strengthening of the Ukrainian-Polish strategic partnership was very important given that Russia has been posing a threat to Ukraine, Europe and the transatlantic community.

Kuleba wrote on Twitter that the meeting with his Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau was planned to be held at a later date, but, due to the current situation, the Polish foreign minister had changed his plans and had come to Kiev earlier.

On Thursday, the Polish Foreign Ministry wrote on Twitter that Rau was to pay "an extraordinary, urgent visit" to Kiev due to the existing threat to peace on the Ukrainian border.

Kiev has raised the alarm over a build-up of Russian forces on the border, and over an increase in violence along the line of contact separating Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine's Donbass region.

In recent days, a Ukrainian soldier died as a result of attacks by pro-Russian forces in Donbass. This was the 11th Ukrainian soldier who died in the last two weeks. Ukrainian authorities are alerting about the escalation of the situation in the eastern region of the country.

Russia says the troop movements are defensive and a senior Russian official has said Moscow has no plans to intervene in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which Kiev says has killed 14,000 people since 2014. Russia, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, has denied sending troops and heavy weapons to Donbass.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday that a path towards membership of Nato was the only way to end the war in the eastern Donbass region after speaking to Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance's secretary general, by phone.

He also called on Nato member states to strengthen their military presence in the Black Sea region to act as a "powerful deterrent" to Russia.

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