In the midst of a growing diplomatic row over grain, Poland has announced its decision to suspend arms supply to Ukraine. The decision comes as Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stresses the need for Poland to focus on its own defense capabilities.
by Janice McAllister
Poland, one of Ukraine’s strongest allies, has ceased providing arms to its eastern neighbor, citing an escalating dispute over grain imports. The disagreement has intensified tensions between the two nations, culminating in the recent summoning of Ukraine’s ambassador to Poland.
In a recent interview on Polsat news TV, Prime Minister Morawiecki emphasized Poland’s priority in modernizing its own defense system. The statement was made following the Ukrainian ambassador’s meeting at the foreign ministry in Warsaw, which was a direct response to remarks by President Volodymyr Zelensky. Speaking at the United Nations, Zelensky commented on the extended grain ban by Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia, labeling it a “political theatre”. Poland was quick to counter, pointing out its continued support for Ukraine since the onset of the war.
While the Prime Minister acknowledged Poland’s role in aiding Ukraine against Russia, he also highlighted the importance of preserving Poland’s economic stability, indicating reluctance to destabilize the markets with Ukrainian grain imports.
Despite the transfer of significant amounts of its military assets to Ukraine, including 320 Soviet-era tanks and 14 MiG-29 jets, Poland’s focus has shifted to replenishing its military stock with modern Western equipment. However, complete cessation of arms exports to Ukraine is not on the horizon, as Polish firm PGZ is set to deliver approximately 60 Krab artillery weapons in the near future. Furthermore, previously agreed upon armament and ammunition shipments will proceed as planned.
The grain issue has caused significant tensions within the European Union. Following the closure of Black Sea shipping routes due to Russia’s invasion, large volumes of Ukrainian grain were redirected to Central Europe. While the European Union had initially placed a temporary ban on grain imports from Ukraine to protect local farmers, the ban was not renewed after 15 September. Nevertheless, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland chose to maintain the ban, contrary to the European Commission’s stance on EU member states determining broader trade policies.
In response, Ukraine has initiated lawsuits against these countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO), citing violations of international trade agreements. The ongoing tension has seen Poland assertively declaring its intent to maintain the ban, even in the face of WTO’s involvement.
Although tensions are high, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia have agreed to allow grain transit through their territories en route to other markets.
France’s Foreign Minister Catherina Colonna weighed in on the matter, underscoring that Ukrainian grain imports wouldn’t significantly harm European farmers and termed the ongoing diplomatic strains as “unfortunate”.
Over the years, Poland has been a steadfast supporter of Ukraine against Russian aggression, championing the cause at various international forums, offering military assistance, and hosting a large number of Ukrainian refugees. The current discord underscores the challenges of balancing diplomacy, trade, and defense interests even amongst traditional allies.
(Associated Medias | FAD) – All right reserved