- Poland Halts Arms Supply to Ukraine Amid Diplomatic Dispute
- Tensions Escalate Over Ukrainian Grain Exports
- Uncertain Future for Arms Exports as Poland Focuses on Modernization
Amid a diplomatic dispute over Kyiv’s grain exports, Poland, one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies, has stated that it will no longer provide its neighbor with arms.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that Poland’s priority is to defend itself with more advanced armaments.
Poland has already provided Ukraine with 320 Soviet-era tanks and 14 MiG-29 fighter aircraft, leaving it with few other options.
The remarks, however, coincide with heightened tensions between the two neighbors.
Poland summoned the Ukrainian ambassador on Tuesday in response to remarks made by President Volodymyr Zelensky at the United Nations after Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia extended a prohibition on Ukrainian grain.
Mr. Zelensky stated that it was alarming how some of Ukraine’s European allies acted out their solidarity “in a political play – creating suspense from grain.”
Warsaw condemned his remarks as “unjustified regarding Poland, which has supported Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict.” Since then, the two countries have attempted to defuse the dispute.
Mr. Morawiecki was interviewed by the private news channel Polsat on Wednesday evening, hours after the Ukrainian ambassador was summoned to the Polish foreign ministry in response to the Ukrainian leader’s speech.
The prime minister stated, “We are no longer transferring weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming Poland with more modern weapons.”
Polish state news agency Pap reported that he was adamant that Poland was assisting Ukraine to defeat the “Russian barbarian” by maintaining a military hub, but he refused to allow grain imports to destabilize Poland’s markets.
By the United States and NATO, our hub in Rzeszow will continue to play the same function that it has always played.
Poland is replacing a third of its military equipment with Western-made equipment after sending it to Ukraine.
Polish manufacturer PGZ is scheduled to ship approximately sixty Krab artillery systems to Ukraine in the upcoming months, indicating that arms exports to Ukraine will not cease entirely. Later, government spokesman Piotr Muller clarified that only previously agreed deliveries of ammunition and arms, including those from contracts signed with Ukraine, would be delivered.
Asked about the prime minister’s comments, Polish state assets minister Jacek Sasin told Radio Plus on Thursday that “at the moment it is as the prime minister said – in the future, we will see”.
In recent weeks, as part of an increasingly acrimonious election campaign preceding the 15th of October vote, Poland’s governing Law and Justice party has defended Polish farmers who feel threatened by Ukrainian grain imports.
Ukraine had to find overland ways after Russia’s assault nearly closed the Black Sea trade lanes.
Consequently, vast quantities of grain arrived in Central Europe.
As a result, the European Union temporarily restricted grain imports into Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia to safeguard local farmers who feared that Ukrainian grain was driving down local prices.
The EU chose not to renew the prohibition when it expired on 15 September; however, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland have maintained the ban, despite the European Commission’s assertion that it is not up to EU member states to determine broader trade policy.
This week, Ukraine lodged complaints with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against those nations for violating international obligations with their bans.
Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraine’s Minister of Economy, stated that it was crucial to demonstrate that individual member states cannot ban imports of Ukrainian products.
Thursday, sources reported that Kyiv had agreed to retract its lawsuit against Slovakia after the two countries agreed to implement a grain license system in the coming months.
Poland has stated thus far that the ban will remain in force, and a WTO complaint “does not impress us.”
Mr. Morawiecki stated that if Ukraine escalated the grain dispute, the number of prohibited goods from Kyiv would increase.
However, Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart, Mykola Solskyi, on Thursday, and Kyiv reported that the two neighbors had agreed to pursue a solution that serves both countries’ interests.
Despite the prohibition, the three countries continue to permit grain transport to other markets via their borders.
Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Catherina Colonna stated that an EU study revealed that Ukrainian grain imports would not devastate European farmers and that the tensions were “regrettable.”
Poland has provided substantial assistance to Ukraine in its defense against Russia, urging Germany to provide the country with Leopard 2 battle tanks, pledging fighter aircraft to Ukraine, and accepting more than 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees.