As the United States ramped up warnings of a Russian attack, and as Western allies called for unity against aggression, the leaders of two NATO members bordering Ukraine headed for a gathering in Madrid over the weekend called "Defend Europe.”

But instead of tackling the Russian threat to Europe’s eastern frontier, the meeting attended by the prime ministers of Poland and Hungary, Mateusz Morawiecki and Viktor Orban, focused on what the populist leaders cite as their most pressing threats: immigration, demographic decline and the European Union.

Even as the two NATO members rely on the alliance for their security, the pressing in Madrid of issues that have long driven a wedge between them and the United States and the European Union highlighted the extent to which domestic political concerns remain at the forefront of their calculations.