Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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According to Warsaw, Poland halts the shipment of arms to Ukraine due to a conflict over grain.


On Wednesday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that Warsaw has ceased providing weapons to Kyiv and is now prioritizing arming their own country. This comes amidst a disagreement over Ukraine’s agricultural exports.

Morawiecki stated on Polish television channel Polsat that they have stopped sending weapons to Ukraine and are instead providing Poland with advanced weapons. He emphasized the importance of having defensive capabilities, but reassured that this decision will not put Ukraine’s security at risk.

Morawiecki’s terse comments came as tensions escalated between Kyiv and the EU over the past week, after the European Commission moved to allow Ukrainian grain sales across the bloc, ending restrictions on grain imports which five eastern EU countries originally sought to protect their farmers from competition.

The countries of Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia reacted to the Commission’s decision by implementing independent restrictions on the import of grain from Ukraine, potentially going against the EU’s regulations for its internal market. In response, Kyiv retaliated by taking legal action against these three nations at the World Trade Organization.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy subtly criticized those who are implementing grain bans. He expressed his concern at the U.N. General Assembly, stating that it is worrisome to see some of our European friends use solidarity as a political tool, turning the issue of grain into a drama. While they may appear to be playing their own part, they are ultimately aiding Moscow’s agenda.

Although Zelenskyy did not explicitly mention Poland, the Polish government called for Kyiv’s ambassador to meet with their foreign ministry in reaction.

Morawiecki gave a “caution” to “Ukraine’s leaders,” previously stating on Polsat, “if they choose to intensify the conflict in that manner, we will expand the list of banned products imported into Poland. Ukrainian leaders do not comprehend the extent to which Poland’s agriculture sector has been disrupted.”

Poland is in the midst of a high-stakes campaign ahead of an election next month, with the right-wing Law and Justice government battling for reelection. While Warsaw initially threw its weight behind the campaign to help Kyiv fend off Russia’s attempted invasion, that full-throated support has waned as the consequences of supporting Ukraine for its own farmers have become more evident.