Polish Prime Minister tells Ukrainian Zelensky: “Never insult Poles again.”

Casper Pemble/Reuters/File

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks at a press conference in Warsaw on July 5.



CNN

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has asked Volodymyr Zelensky not to “insult Poles again” after the Ukrainian president suggested his neighbor was making a show of their differences over grain exports.

The Polish leader hit back at Zelensky after the Ukrainian leader made a veiled criticism of Poland at the UN General Assembly this week, saying the dispute was a “political farce” and that “some of our friends in Europe” had “created a sensational story.” Of grain.”

On Friday, at a rally in Swidnik, Poland, Morawiecki responded.

“I want to tell President Zelensky not to insult Poles again, as he did recently during his speech at the United Nations,” he said.

The Polish Prime Minister added: “The Polish people will never allow this to happen, and defending the good name of Poland is not only my duty and honor, but also the most important task of the Polish government.”

Morawiecki’s comments risk deepening divisions between the two countries, once close allies united against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tensions between them have escalated in recent weeks over the embargo on Ukrainian grain, which was imposed by several EU countries earlier this year to protect the livelihoods of local farmers who worry about being exposed to falling Ukrainian grain prices.

The European Union announced plans to suspend the ban last week, but… Poland She – along with Hungary and Slovakia – said she would abide by them, sparking protests from Ukraine, which has filed lawsuits against the three countries, and hence Zelensky’s comments at the UN.

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Poland immediately condemned Zelensky’s statements at the United Nations, and its Foreign Ministry summoned the Ukrainian ambassador to convey its “strong protest.” Hours later, the Polish Prime Minister said in a frank statement on social media that his country “will no longer transfer weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming Poland.”

This seemed to signal a major change in policy: until now, Poland had been one of the most vocal countries in the race to put weapons and resources into the hands of the Ukrainians.

But Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday retracted his prime minister’s comments, saying they had been “interpreted in the worst possible way.”

He said Morawiecki was only referring to new weapons being purchased for the Polish army, and that older weapons systems that Warsaw deems not necessary to modernize its army could still be shipped across the border.

Poland has long been one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies, along with several former Eastern Bloc countries that fear it could be next if Russian President Vladimir Putin’s expansionist war succeeds.

Poland sent fighter jets across the border months before the United States, which only last month agreed to approve the transfer of F-16s, pending the completion of training for Ukrainian forces.

It also sent more than 200 Soviet-style tanks to Ukraine.

Most Western military equipment and other supplies reach Ukraine via Poland, and the country hosts 1.6 million Ukrainian refugees, according to the United Nations.

According to the Kiel Institute, which tracks the volume of donations made by countries to Ukraine, Poland has pledged 4.27 billion euros (about 4.54 billion dollars), in a mix of military, financial and humanitarian aid.

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