Poland to stop arms supply to Ukraine as conflict deepens over grain imports


Poland said on Wednesday it would stop arms supplies to Ukraine, amid an escalating dispute between the two countries over a temporary ban on Ukrainian grain imports.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on social media that we will no longer transfer weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming Poland.

Poland has long been Ukraine’s biggest backer since Moscow invaded its neighbor, along with a number of former Eastern bloc countries that fear that if Russian President Vladimir Putin’s expansionist war succeeds. If it does, he can be next.

Now Kiev and Warsaw are fighting each other.

The embargo on Ukrainian grain was initially imposed by several EU nations earlier this year, to protect the livelihoods of local farmers who have been hurt by low Ukrainian grain prices.

Last week, the European Union announced plans to lift the ban. But three countries – Poland, Hungary and Slovakia – said they intended to block the change and keep the restrictions in place.

That sparked protests from Ukraine, which this week filed a lawsuit against all three countries over the matter.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy also spoke against the ban in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, saying, “It is alarming to see how some in Europe, some of our friends in Europe, show solidarity in the political theater. do. grain.”

Gleb Garanch/Writers/File

A truck with corn is seen at a grain storage facility in the village of Baluhria, Ukraine, on April 19, 2023.

He added that the countries involved appear to be playing their own roles but are actually helping a Moscow actor set the stage.

Ukraine apparently moved to bridge the rift on Thursday. Kiev’s minister for agricultural policy said he had spoken with his Polish counterpart and issued a statement saying the pair “discussed the situation and Ukraine’s proposal to resolve it.” , and agreed to find a solution that takes into account the interests of both countries.”

Slovakia’s agriculture ministry said on Thursday it had also agreed to establish a grain trading system with Slovakia that would enable the lifting of a ban on Ukrainian grain imports.

But Zelenskiy’s comments were quickly condemned by Poland, with the foreign ministry summoning Ukraine’s ambassador to Warsaw to convey its “strong protest”.

Polish Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski told the Ukrainian ambassador that Zielinski’s claim was “false,” especially since Poland “has been supporting Ukraine since the first days of the war.”

“Putting pressure on Poland in multilateral forums or sending complaints to international tribunals are not appropriate ways to resolve disputes between our countries,” he added, according to a ministry statement.

In a televised interview, Prime Minister Morawiecki said he would not risk destabilizing the Polish market by accepting Ukrainian grain imports but would not stop transit through Poland, Poland’s national news agency PA reported. P reported.

“Of course we will maintain the flow of Ukrainian goods. Poland does not bear any costs because of it. On the contrary, it can be said that we earn from it,” Morawiecki said, according to PAP.

Morawiecki also accused Ukrainian oligarchs of “pushing their grain into the Polish market” without concern for local farmers, and said Poland would now focus on providing “the latest weapons” for its own purposes. , PAP reported.

“If you want to defend yourself, you have to have something to defend against,” Moravecki said.

Warsaw has taken the lead among NATO allies in supplying Kiev with heavy weapons. In the spring, Poland became the first NATO country to send fighter jets to Ukraine — months before the United States, which just last month agreed to approve the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to train Ukrainian forces. until completion.

Poland has already sent more than 200 Soviet-style tanks to Ukraine. Most Western military equipment and other supplies reach Ukraine via Poland, which is hosting 1.6 million Ukrainian refugees, according to the United Nations.

According to the Cal Institute’s tracker of how much nations have donated to Ukraine, Poland has pledged 4.27 billion euros (about $4.54 billion), a combination of military, financial and humanitarian aid.

Polish President Andrzej Duda also called for greater unity and action at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, of which Russia is a permanent member.

“If we do not act in solidarity today, to defend the fundamental values ​​of international law, tomorrow may be too late,” he said, adding that the “strategic shift” that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “It is not temporary.

“We are living in a new era of uncertainty,” Duda said.

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