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With Russia at Poland's doorstep, Warsaw tries to woo Western critics

By Anthony Faiola

28 Mar 2022 · 4 min read

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Poland's relations with its close allies, the United States and the European Union, were, at best, strained. Charging Warsaw with democratic backsliding, the European Union slapped punitive fines on the right-wing Polish government. Polish President Andrzej Duda - a staunch ally of Donald Trump - took several weeks to officially congratulate President Joe Biden after the 2020 elections. That came after Biden, on the campaign trail, had lumped Poland in with a rogues gallery of nations he accused of tilting away from democracy.

But Warsaw's beef with its Western allies seemed to melt away Friday, as Duda and Biden clasped hands at a Polish airport less than 60 miles from the Ukrainian border. Duda gushed over the strength of U.S.-Polish ties, heralding Washington's role in maintaining "stability and world peace" in the face of "Russian aggression" against "democratic and free nations."

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