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Trump to meet with Polish president Duda as NATO leaders call for additional support for Ukraine

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Trump to meet with Polish president Duda as NATO leaders call for additional support for Ukraine
April 16, 2024
STEVE PEOPLES - AP

NEW YORK (AP) — Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday in New York.

The planned dinner meeting, confirmed by a person familiar with the matter, comes as European leaders prepare for the possibility that Trump might win the November election and return to the White House. Leaders of NATO countries are especially concerned given Trump's long history of critical comments about the key western alliance, even after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Poland, which shares a border with Ukraine, is a NATO member. Duda, a right-wing populist whose term ends in 2025, has encouraged the United States to send additional funding to Ukraine to combat Russian aggression.

Trump has spoken out against such funding, but in a possible shift late last week, the Republican presidential candidate said he may support additional funding if it was in the form of a loan.

Trump is in New York this week for the beginning of his criminal hush money trial, which has dramatically limited his campaign movements. He is now the first former president in U.S. history to stand criminal trial.

Republicans in Washington, meanwhile, are fighting amongst themselves over a massive foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other allies. Trump's “Make America Great Again” movement has been especially critical of the Ukraine funding, a position in line with the GOP’s softening stance on Russia since Trump's rise in U.S. politics.

Trump has long praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling his invasion of Ukraine “smart” and “savvy.” In February, he sent shockwaves across the globe after recounting during a rally that he had told NATO members who didn’t spend enough on defense that he would “encourage” Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to them. He reiterated that threat days later.

Such a move would undermine Article 5, which states that an armed attack against one NATO member or more shall be considered an attack against all members.

Another NATO member and key proponent of supporting Ukraine, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, met with Trump at the former president’s Florida estate earlier in the month ahead of a visit with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Russia's European allies have courted Trump as well.

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, an autocrat who has maintained the closest relationship with Russia among all European Union countries, met privately with Trump last month.

___

Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in New York contributed to this report.

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