HomeUnited StatesSecretary Antony J. Blinken and Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski Before Their...

Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski Before Their Meeting – United States Department of State

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  And it’s a particular pleasure, Radek, to welcome you back to Washington, back to the State Department.  This is an important occasion in a number of ways.  First and foremost, of course, we have both President Duda and Prime Minister Tusk coming together to the White House and to Washington on March the 12th, and I look forward to talking about that very important visit – one that shows, I think again, the fact that the relationship between the United States and Poland is, at least in my judgment, stronger than it’s ever been.  And this comes at a critical time, but it’s also reinforced by the fact that we are proceeding on a basis of shared values, shared interests, and shared determination to meet the challenges of this moment.  So I look very much forward to talking about that visit and talking about the work we’re doing together to prepare for it.

But this is also an auspicious day in another way.  A short while ago, the Hungarian parliament approved the admission of Sweden to NATO.  And so with that process now being completed, we very much look forward in the days ahead to finalizing everything and bringing Sweden into our Alliance, our shared Alliance. 

I think this only underscores yet again the strategic debacle that Putin’s invasion or reinvasion of Ukraine has produced for Russia: a NATO Alliance that is both stronger and larger with the accession of both Finland and now Sweden; the Ukrainian people more unified than ever, and unified in opposition to Russia and everything that Putin has done since 2014; and a Europe that has shown extraordinary solidarity both with Ukraine and with the imperative of dealing with the threat and aggression posed by Russia, including in the space of two years by moving itself off of energy dependence on Russia extraordinarily quickly, extraordinarily effectively; and of course, the work that all of us are doing to make sure that Ukraine will stand on its own two feet militarily, economically, democratically for many, many years to come.

We see time and again that Mr. Putin has managed to precipitate everything he said he was trying to prevent.  And today’s historic work by the Hungarian parliament only underscores that.

But from day one it has been Poland, its leadership, its solidarity with Ukraine, its work within our NATO Alliance, that has made and continues to make a profound difference.  And so, Radek, I know we’ll have occasion to talk about that as well, but we couldn’t be more grateful both, again, not just for the solidarity but the leadership that Poland has shown when it comes to this aggression against so many of our interests and so many of our values.

FOREIGN MINISTER SIKORSKI:  Thank you for the invitation to the State Department.  Thank you for your kind words.  And thank you above all for what the United States has already done for Ukraine and therefore the security of Europe, even though Ukraine was not a formal ally when Putin invaded in full scale.  We appreciate what your intelligence services have done with the strategic use of intelligence and the way you’ve sustained Ukraine in its hour of need.

Indeed, as you said, the Polish-American relationship is excellent.  I’m looking forward to discussing with you the upcoming visit of our president and our prime minister.  But above all, I’m looking forward to discussing what we can do to make sure that Putin doesn’t conquer Ukraine, because that would be a disaster not only for Ukraine but for Poland and I believe for the West.

Poland has bold plans to strengthen its defenses, but America is our essential security partner.  We have done what we pledged to do in the successive NATO summits.  We are now, I believe, in proportion to GDP, the biggest spender on defense in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and so we are trying to give a good example.

But times are dramatic, and therefore this moment is sublime because we are coming up to a fork in the road, and depending on where we go history will be different.  So I’m really looking forward to talking to you.  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thanks, everyone.

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