Following Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s statement that Poland would cease arming Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, President Andrzej Duda has asserted that the Prime Minister’s remarks were misunderstood or misinterpreted.
Duda talking to a Polish television channel said Morawiecki’s “words were interpreted in the worst way possible…In my opinion, the prime minister meant that we won’t be transferring to Ukraine the new weaponry that we’re currently buying as we modernise the Polish army.”
“As we receive the new weaponry from the US and South Korea, we will be releasing the weaponry currently used by the Polish army. Perhaps we will transfer it to Ukraine,” Duda added.
On Wednesday (September 20), the Polish PM, surprising many, said Warsaw would no longer arm Ukraine and instead focus on its own defence.
“We are no longer transferring weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming Poland with more modern weapons,” said Morawiecki when quizzed if his country would continue to back Kyiv.
Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Poland has been one of the biggest allies of Ukraine, supplying much of the weapons to the war-hit nation. Much of the weaponry that the United States and other countries send to Ukraine, passes through Poland.
Additionally, Warsaw has given shelter to some one million Ukrainian refugees, who have benefited from various kinds of state aid.
Why the rise in tensions?
However, tensions have risen between the two sides after the Polish side imposed a ban on Ukrainian grain imports to protect its own farmers, despite the UN suggesting otherwise.
The ban by the Polish side riled up Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who criticised the allies saying some countries were only pretending to support his nation as it wages a counteroffensive to retake land taken by Russia.
Notably, apart from Poland, Slovakia and Hungary also announced curbs on grain imports from Ukraine last Friday.
French Foreign Minister Catherina Colonna commenting on the breakdown in ties between the two allies said Poland’s decision to ban Ukraine’s grain was unjustified. She cited a EU study and said Ukrainian grain imports would not disrupt or cripple the market of European farmers.
“There is no market upheaval and there are perhaps internal political considerations on the part of some of our partners which, unfortunately, pushes them to have this position that nothing justifies,” said Colonna.
With the general election taking place next month in Poland, and the grain issue remaining a particularly sensitive topic, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Morawiecki has taken a provocative stance.