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From the start, Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s first official visit to Poland since Russia invaded Ukraine was a meeting of friends.

It was a display of warmth and solidarity, as well as several public hugs.

The Ukrainian president was treated to a hero’s welcome as he visited his closest neighbour.

His counterpart, Andrzej Duda, gave him the full red carpet treatment and the Polish troops greeted him as a respected leader.

In the street, some of the million Ukrainian refugees given shelter by Poland were among fans queuing to get a glimpse of Mr Zelenskyy.

“I’m very excited. My heart is beating right now. I want to see him. I want to see him even from the distance,” said refugee Marusia, who had her country’s flag wrapped around her shoulder.

Johanna, a teacher, told us: “I think he’s a superhero. He’s an amazing man.”

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The Polish president clearly shared their sentiment and presented Mr Zelenskyy with Poland’s highest award for outstanding individuals.

Then the Ukrainian leader took the opportunity to express his gratitude in return.

“I want to thank you for the fact that you, our powerful neighbours, did not and do not allow us to break, for the fact that you help us. If Ukraine falls, we know that Russia will not stop there and will go further,” said Mr Zelenskyy.

And there is a lot to be grateful for.

A few hours away in the Polish countryside, Ukrainian troops were being trained to use Leopard 2 tanks.

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Zelenskyy arrives in Warsaw

Poland has been instrumental in helping to secure weapons and aid for Ukraine.

It’s a small price for the sacrifices being made across the border, according to Mr Duda.

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“No one expected Ukraine would stand for so long [or] that defenders of Ukraine would be so heroic. The defenders are heroic because the president turned out to be heroic,” he said.

Wednesday’s meeting wasn’t just about reaffirming friendship – it was also about building credit for the future.

The longer the war goes on, the more it will affect people living in neighbouring countries.

Ukraine knows it must keep the public on its side to ensure ongoing military and financial support.

For now, that isn’t a problem in Poland.

It’s clear Mr Zelenskyy has stolen the hearts of many in this nation.

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