Poland halts weapon supplies to Ukraine amid diplomatic dispute over grain exports.Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki emphasized that Poland's focus has shifted towards modernizing its own defense capabilities.
However, President Andrzej Duda later clarified that this decision pertains only to new Polish weapons.
This development underscores the strains in the relationship between the two nations and raises questions about the future of their diplomatic ties.
The recent discord between Poland and Ukraine traces back to Ukraine's grain exports and comments made by President Volodymyr Zelensky at the United Nations.
Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia had extended a ban on Ukrainian grain, prompting President Zelensky to express concerns about the politicization of solidarity among European nations.
Poland viewed his words as unjustified and a departure from their long-standing support for Ukraine.
In an interview with Polsat news TV channel, Prime Minister Morawiecki revealed Poland's decision to halt weapon transfers to Ukraine. He cited Poland's need to prioritize its own security and defend against potential threats.
Morawiecki stressed that Poland would not allow its markets to be destabilized by grain imports, referring to the importance of maintaining economic stability.
Poland has already provided significant military support to Ukraine, including 320 Soviet-era tanks and 14 MiG-29 fighter jets.
However, these supplies have depleted Poland's military hardware, leading the country to consider replacing it with modern Western-produced equipment.
Government spokesman Piotr Muller clarified that only previously agreed deliveries of ammunition and armaments would continue, in line with existing contracts with Ukraine.
Polish state assets minister Jacek Sasin echoed Morawiecki's statements, emphasizing that the situation might change in the future.
The ban on Ukrainian grain exports had been implemented by Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria, initially as a measure to protect their local farmers from the influx of Ukrainian grain due to altered shipping routes during Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
While the EU decided not to renew the ban on September 15, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia opted to maintain it, ignoring the European Commission's stance on member states deciding broader trade policies.
Ukraine subsequently filed lawsuits against these countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO), alleging violations of international obligations.
In a recent development, Ukraine agreed to withdraw its lawsuit against Slovakia, with both countries agreeing to establish a grain license system in the coming months.
Poland, on the other hand, remained firm in its stance, asserting that the WTO complaint did not concern them.
Despite the grain export ban, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia continue to allow the transportation of grain through their territories to other markets.
France's Foreign Minister Catherina Colonna commented on the dispute, expressing regret and citing an EU study that suggested Ukrainian grain imports would not significantly harm European farmers.
While Poland has been a key supporter of Ukraine's defense efforts, pledging fighter jets and advocating for German assistance in the form of Leopard 2 battle tanks, the recent shift in its weapons supply policy raises questions about the future of this crucial alliance.
Poland's Agriculture Minister Robert Telus has engaged in discussions with his Ukrainian counterpart, Mykola Solskyi, with both nations expressing a willingness to seek a mutually beneficial solution to the ongoing grain dispute.
The outcome of these discussions will likely have a significant impact on the diplomatic relations between Poland and Ukraine.
Wheat grains are dropping from harvesting machine on wheat mound.
Poland's decision to halt weapon supplies to Ukraine marks a significant development in the ongoing diplomatic dispute over grain exports.
It underscores the complexities of balancing national security interests with international alliances and trade relationships.
The outcome of this dispute will be closely watched by the international community as it potentially reshapes the dynamics in the region.