The Role of the Lublin Triangle in the Russia-Ukraine War

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On July 28, 2020, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine established a platform called the “Lublin Triangle.” In a joint statement in Lublin, Poland, the Foreign Ministers of these three countries drew attention to the centuries-old historical and cultural ties among them. Moreover, the parties emphasized cooperation in the political, economic, infrastructure, security, defense and cultural fields. Nevertheless, Warsaw, Kyiv and Vilnius underlined the strategic importance of the intensified cooperation between the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries and declared that they attach due value to the functioning of the Three Seas Initiative.[1]

As can be seen, the three states wanted to strengthen the dialogue among themselves by creating such a platform about a year and a half before the start of the Russia-Ukraine War. First of all, it is seen that the platform has a “regional” feature. Second of all, both Lithuania and Poland are members of organizations such as NATO and the EU. In this context, the partnership developed by Kyiv with Warsaw and Vilnius is important in terms of accelerating the process of membership in these organizations.

Furthermore, both Ukraine and Lithuania share a border with Poland. This increases the importance of the partnership among the three states. Moreover, Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania border Belarus, Russia’s biggest ally in Eastern Europe. This allows the three states to exert pressure on Minsk.

Along with all these, a point that should be drawn attention to is the historical connotation made by Lublin. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, created in 1569, was established by the Treaty of Lublin. For this reason, the Foreign Ministers of the three countries held a joint press conference next to the Monument to the Unity of Lublin.

Moreover, the joint military brigade of 4500 men formed between Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine in 2014 was named after Hetman Konstanty Ostrogski, who commanded the Forces of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the Battle of Orsha in 1514 and defeated the Grand Duchy of Moscow.[2] In this context, the three countries are conducting a “psychological war” against Moscow in a sense by bringing historical highlights to the forefront. In other words, the parties want to give the message that they have defeated Russia before and that they can defeat it again. Therefore, this leads to Russia’s reaction.

On the other hand, the “Three Seas Initiative” in the founding text of the Lublin Triangle should also be mentioned. The initiative was established in 2015 by states bordering the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Adriatic Sea. Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia are members of the Three Seas Initiative.[3] In a sense, the initiative aims to integrate the three seas with various partnerships. Therefore, it can be argued that the Three Seas Initiative aims to strengthen cooperation between the countries in these regions in the fields of economy, transportation and energy.

Poland and Lithuania are members of the platform, while Ukraine achieved the status of participating partner on June 20, 2022.[4] Therefore, both the Russia-Ukraine War and the cooperation it developed with Warsaw and Vilnius had an impact on Kyiv’s attainment of this status.

On the other hand, it is seen that the Lublin Triangle showed a concrete attitude during the Russia-Ukraine War. In this context, on January 11, 2023, the Presidents of Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland met in Lviv, Ukraine. In their joint statement, the parties stated that they would continue trilateral consultations to strengthen Kyiv’s security, as well as welcome progress towards Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration and, in particular, cooperation with NATO.[5] After the summit, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced that his country would send German-made Leopard-2 tanks to Ukraine. Lithuania announced that it would soon provide Ukraine with the L70 anti-aircraft gun system and ammunition.[6]

In this regard, the main point that made the Lublin Triangle Summit important was Poland’s announcement that it would give Ukraine Leopard-2 tanks, which Berlin had not agreed to send to Kyiv. Warsaw’s announcement of this decision after the summit stems from the importance it attaches to the Lublin Triangle. Therefore, it is seen that this platform has recently come to the agenda in the “military” context.

On the other hand, Moscow’s reaction to the decisions taken at the Lublin Triangle Summit has been quite harsh. Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian President and current Deputy Chairman of the Security Council, described the summit as a meeting “suffering from imaginary suffering” and suggested that the parties were praying for tanks.[7] As can be understood from Medvedev’s words, Russia is not at all satisfied with the initiatives of the Lublin Triangle.

In conclusion, the Lublin Triangle symbolizes multidimensional cooperation among Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania. Warsaw and Vilnius, in particular, advocate the acceleration of Kyiv’s integration with the West. Moreover, the financial and military assistance of Poland and Lithuania to Ukraine plays a critical role in Ukraine’s struggle with Russia.

[1] “Joint Declaration of Foreign Ministers of the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Lithuania and Ukraine on Establishing Lublin Triangle”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine,, (Date of Accession: 19.01.2023).

[2] “Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine Inaugurate Lublin Triangle”, The Jamestown Foundation,, (Date of Accession: 19.01.2023).

[3] “Three Seas Story”, Three Seas,, (Date of Accession: 19.01.2023).

[4] “Ukraine Becomes ‘Participating Partner’ of Three Seas Initiative”, Euractiv,, (Date of Accession: 19.01.2023).

[5] “Poland, Lithuania Support Ukraine’s Membership in NATO- Lublin Triangle Summit”, Ukrinform,, (Date of Accession: 19.01.2023).

[6] “Lithuania and Poland to Continue Providing Military Aid for Ukraine”, Army Technology,, (Date of Accession: 19.01.2023).

[7] “Vladimir Putin’s Man Commented on Polish Tanks for Ukraine. He Called Us Poor”, Poland Posts English,, (Date of Accession: 19.01.2023).

Cemal Ege ÖZKAN
Cemal Ege Özkan, 2019 yılında Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2022 senesinde aynı üniversitenin Türk İnkılap Tarihi Enstitüsü Atatürk İlkeleri ve İnkılap Tarihi Anabilim Dalı’nda hazırladığı “Türk Siyasi Hayatında Selim Rauf Sarper ve Faaliyetleri” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Hâlihazırda aynı enstitüde doktora eğitimine devam etmektedir. 2020-2021 yılları arasında Türk Tarih Kurumu Yüksek Lisans Bursiyeri olan Özkan, iyi derecede İngilizce bilmektedir.