(UnitedVoice.com) – When Russia invaded Ukraine, Poland immediately pledged its help to the defending country. The NATO nation has sent billions of dollars in military aid since then and accepted large numbers of refugees fleeing the war. A recent spat over grain between the two countries put their relationship in jeopardy, and Ukraine almost lost a major weapons supplier.
On September 20, Poland announced it would no longer send weapons to Ukraine. The decision reverberated across the Western world. The announcement came as the Polish government decided to extend a ban on Ukrainian grain imports. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticized Poland for allegedly not standing in solidarity with them. Meanwhile, Poland has said it’s trying to protect its farmers who have suffered as a result of the Russian war.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki posted a statement on X saying the country wasn’t going to send weapons to Ukraine because it was going to begin arming itself.
📺 Premier @MorawieckiM w #GośćWydarzeń dla @PolsatNewsPL: Ukraina broni się przed bestialskim atakiem rosyjskim i rozumiem tą sytuację, jednak tak jak powiedziałem, będziemy chronić nasz kraj. My już nie przekazujemy uzbrojenia na 🇺🇦, ponieważ uzbrajamy teraz Polskę.
— Kancelaria Premiera (@PremierRP) September 20, 2023
Poland is now trying to walk back those comments. Polish President Andrzej Duda reportedly said the prime minister’s remarks were “interpreted in the worst way possible.” He said Prime Minister Morawiecki was only talking about new weapons that were being purchased for the Polish army. The old weapons will continue being sent to Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau wrote an op-ed published by POLITICO promising to continue to support Ukraine throughout the war. He explained that when Russia closed the Black Sea and stopped allowing Ukraine to deliver its grain to Europe, Poland opened its ports. They allowed Ukraine to use its country as a stopover before selling the grain to other countries but said that eventually, the strategy allowed “for the unrestricted sale of grain on the Polish market […] causing market disruption and losses for Polish farmers.”
President Duda defended the decision to continue banning grain sales. He said his country will continue to provide the transit corridors for Ukraine, but made it clear his country is “self-sufficient” and doesn’t need grain from anywhere else.
Though the spat is over, Morawiecki told Zelenskyy never to “insult Poles again.”
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