Poland, one of Ukraine’s steadfast allies, has declared that it will cease the supply of weapons to Ukraine due to an escalating diplomatic dispute centered around grain trade.
The Prime Minister of Poland announced this shift in policy, emphasizing the nation’s intention to focus on equipping itself with more modern weaponry.
This decision comes as tensions between Ukraine and Poland have been on the rise. Poland recently summoned Ukraine’s ambassador following President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks at the UN, which sparked controversy.
President Zelensky’s comments implied that some nations had only pretended to stand in solidarity with Ukraine. In response, Poland criticized these remarks as “unjustified,” highlighting its longstanding support for Ukraine since the early days of the conflict.
In a televised address, Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, officially announced the suspension of poland supply of weapons to ukraine. He stated that this move was to prioritize the arming of Poland with more advanced weaponry.
The grain trade dispute, at the heart of the escalating tensions, began after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted the main Black Sea shipping routes. Consequently, Ukraine sought alternative overland routes for its grain exports, leading to significant quantities of grain ending up in central Europe.
In response, the European Union (EU) temporarily banned grain imports into several countries, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, to protect local farmers who feared Ukrainian grain was depressing prices. While the EU chose not to renew the ban when it expired on September 15, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland decided to continue implementing it.
The European Commission emphasized that trade policy decisions should be made collectively by the EU and not on an individual member state basis.
Ukraine filed lawsuits with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against these countries over the bans, asserting that they violated international obligations. Poland, however, remained resolute in maintaining the ban and expressed its indifference to the WTO complaint.
Prime Minister Morawiecki warned that if Ukraine escalated the grain dispute, Poland would expand the list of banned products from Kyiv. Poland’s foreign ministry emphasized that resorting to international courts and multilateral forums to exert pressure was not an appropriate means of resolving differences between the two countries.
Despite the grain ban, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland expressed willingness to allow the transit of grain through their territories to reach other markets. Ukraine urged Poland to set aside emotions and adopt a constructive approach to resolving the dispute, following the summoning of Poland’s ambassador.
France’s Foreign Minister, Catherina Colonna, disclosed that an EU study indicated that Ukrainian grain imports would not significantly harm European farmers. She described the current tensions as “regrettable.”
It’s worth noting that Poland has been a significant supporter of Ukraine, offering military equipment and hosting a substantial number of Ukrainian refugees in the midst of Ukraine’s defense against Russia.