Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told local media that Poland should focus on developing its own weapons.
Poland will no longer supply weapons to Ukraine, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reportedly said, amid growing tensions between Warsaw and kyiv over a dispute over grain exports.
Poland has been among Ukraine’s strongest supporters since last year’s Russian invasion and is one of kyiv’s main arms suppliers. Poland also hosts around a million Ukrainian refugees.
But Morawiecki appeared to signal Wednesday that relations were about to change dramatically.
“We are no longer transferring weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming Poland with more modern weapons,” the prime minister said on Wednesday, in response to a journalist’s question about whether Warsaw would continue to support Kiev with weapons despite the conflict. on grain exports.
The official social media account of the Polish Prime Minister’s Chancellery then shared a local media post containing Morawiecki’s comments on stopping arms deliveries to Ukraine.
📺Premiere @MorawieckiM w #GośćWydarzeń dla @PolsatNewsPL: Ukraine is already ready to become bestial, atakiem rosyjskim and rozumiem tą sytuację, jednak tak jak powiedziałem, bedziemy chronicle nasz kraj. My już nie przekazujemy uzbrojenia na 🇺🇦, ponieważ uzbrajamy teraz Polskę.
– Kancelaria Premiera (@PremierRP) September 20, 2023
(Unofficial translation: “Ukraine is defending itself against Russia’s brutal attack and I understand this situation, but as I said, we will protect our country. We are no longer transferring weapons to (Ukraine), because we are now arming Poland.”)
Tensions between Warsaw and Kiev have flared in recent days following Poland’s imposition of a ban on Ukrainian grain imports in a bid to protect the interests of Polish farmers.
Ukraine responded to the ban by warning Poland – as well as fellow European Union members Hungary and Slovakia – that it would file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Morawiecki in turn warned that he would extend the list of Ukrainian products banned for import if kyiv were to take the grain conflict to the international level.
Poland also summoned kyiv’s envoy to the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw on Wednesday following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s comments on the Ukrainian grain ban.
Zelenskyy told the UN General Assembly meeting in New York that Ukraine was working to preserve land routes for grain exports, but he added that the “political theater” around grain does not was only helping Moscow.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski told Ukrainian Ambassador to Warsaw Vasyl Zvarych that “putting pressure on Poland in multilateral forums or sending complaints to international courts are not appropriate methods to resolve the disputes between our countries.
Earlier this year, the EU agreed to impose restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, as part of efforts to protect local farmers who were falling prices in local markets to cheaper Ukrainian imports.
The EU measures allowed Ukrainian grain to continue passing through the five countries, but prevented their sale on the local market.
On Friday, the EU announced that it was ending these measures on imports.
Poland, Hungary and Slovakia immediately announced they would defy the EU decision and impose their own unilateral ban on Ukrainian grain.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Facebook: “We urge our Polish friends to put aside their emotions. The Ukrainian side offered Poland a constructive way to resolve the grain problem.”
A WTO spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that Ukraine had taken the first step in a trade dispute by lodging a complaint with the world trade body. It did not name the countries, although kyiv previously said the complaint targeted Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.
In a Facebook live broadcast, Morawiecki said Warsaw was ready to help kyiv, but “not at the cost of destabilizing the Polish market.”