A row over grain exports has triggered a significant rift between Ukraine and Poland, one of its staunchest supporters in Kyiv’s war with Russia. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Warsaw will no longer transfer weapons to Ukraine and will instead focus on ensuring its own defense with the arsenal of modern arms it recently purchased.
The trade dispute comes after the European Union last week decided against renewing a ban on Ukrainian grain heading to nearby countries, including Poland, which have claimed their farms will be hurt by an influx of agricultural products from the war-torn country.
It’s unclear what Poland’s decision means on the battlefield, where Ukraine is counterattacking Russian forces. Warsaw has sent Kyiv hundreds of Soviet tanks and jet fighters, effectively clearing out its supply of Cold War-era weapons and combat vehicles.
During his address Tuesday to the U.N. General Assembly, Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy assailed countries like Poland that have continued their bans on Ukrainian agricultural exports. He accused them of proclaiming their solidarity in public but “making a thriller from the grain.”
“They may seem to play their own role, but in fact they are helping set the stage to a Moscow actor,” Mr. Zelenskyy said in the address that was condemned by Polish officials.
However, it appears some lower-level government officials in Kyiv and Warsaw may be trying to find a way around the impasse. Ukraine’s agriculture minister, Mykola Solskyi, recently spoke with Robert Telus, his Polish counterpart.
“The ministers discussed the current situation and Ukraine’s proposal to resolve it and agreed to find a solution that would take into account the interests of both countries,” according to a statement from the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine. “The two sides reaffirmed the close and constructive relations they have demonstrated on many occasions and agreed to work out a way forward on export cooperation in the near future.”
Ukraine’s Agricultural Ministry said further talks will take place in “the coming days” to discuss the concerns of both countries.
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