Poland has been seen as taking the lead role in condemning Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and refusing to give ground on threats made by Putin to Western powers. The eastern European country has been praised for leading Western efforts to provide Ukraine with vital military support, and it was one of the first nations to offer to supply Kyiv with warplanes It has also not bowed to threats from Russia after it was announced Moscow was cutting off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria after they both refused flat-out to make payments in roubles.
But since the start of the war, both France and Germany have been lambasted for their response, with Mr Macron criticised over his frequent contact with Putin, which he insists has been aimed at ending hostilities.
German Chancellor Mr Scholz came under heavy fire early on in the Russia-Ukraine conflict over a refusal to support the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine amid fears it would provoke Russia, before eventually giving the approval to sell Ukraine Gepard anti-aircraft tanks.
Nile Gardiner, a foreign policy expert and former aide to Margaret Thatcher, repeated a line from an article by Daily Telegraph Defence Editor Con Coughlin, and tweeted: “The Poles have shamed Germany and France, who have shown weakness in the face of Putin’s invasion.”
In his article, Mr Coughlin said Poland has “become the standard bearers of anti-Russian resistance”, while the likes of Germany and France had “struggled to come to terms with the enormity of the challenge Mr Putin’s unprovoked act of aggression presents for the future of European security”.
He described Poland as the “lynchpin of Western efforts to provide Ukraine with vital military support”, praising it for receiving millions of Ukrainian refugees who were forced to flee their homes to escape Russian brutality.
The expert also argued the eastern European country has been at the centre of calls for Western nations to provide a significant boost in military support to Ukraine.
Mr Coughlin added: “For the Poles, Russia’s blatant attempts to blackmail them into dropping their support for Ukraine amount to a badge of honour.
“It surely confirms that their contribution, both in terms of providing military and humanitarian aid, is making a tangible difference in thwarting Russian war aims.
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“Poland’s staunch support for the Ukrainian cause is all the more surprising in view of the troubled recent history between the two countries, with an estimated 60,000 Poles and 15,000 Ukrainians losing their lives in bitter fighting during the Second World War over the disputed territory of Volhynia on the Polish-Ukrainian border.”
But the expert claimed this stands in stark contrast to the “less-than-convincing performance of key EU players” in France and Germany.
He added: “German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s painful refusal to support the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine for fear of provoking Moscow has undermined Western efforts to back Kyiv.
“And even when Mr Scholz finally gave a green light for Germany to sell Ukraine Gepard anti-aircraft tanks, it soon transpired that the deal would not include the missiles needed to shoot down hostile Russian aircraft.
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“In Paris, meanwhile, newly re-elected president Emmanuel Macron has been accused of appeasement over his frequent contacts with Mr Putin, which he insists have been aimed at ending hostilities, but which critics say have simply provided Moscow with the diplomatic cover to maintain its murderous assault.”
He also said the UK Government’s efforts have so far been limited to offering defensive equipment and humanitarian support to Ukraine and “could learn something from the leadership qualities demonstrated by the intrepid Poles”.
But Mr Coughlin argued there are “encouraging signs” the UK may preparing to follow Poland’s lead after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss argued Britain and other Western powers must be prepared to provide Ukraine with warplanes and heavy armour.
She said during a speech at Mansion House on Wednesday night: “If Putin succeeds, there will be untold further misery across Europe, and terrible consequences across the globe. We would never feel safe again.”
Mr Coughlin concluded a positive step would be to rescind Washington’s ban on a plan first mooted by Poland early on in the conflict, to provide Ukraine with 70 used Russian MiG-29 fighter jets.
He added: “It is weaponry that could decisively turn the tide of the war in Ukraine’s favour, and deter Mr Putin from taking any further acts of military aggression.”