Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki warns Ukrainian President Zelenskyy against insulting Poles after UN remarks.
Tensions rise between Poland and Ukraine over a ban on Ukrainian grain exports.
Poland has historically been a strong ally of Ukraine against Russian aggression.
Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has sternly warned Volodymyr Zelenskyy not to engage in further derogatory remarks about the Polish people.
This comes in response to the Ukrainian President’s recent insinuation that Poland was exaggerating their disputes regarding grain exports for political purposes.
Zelenskyy had suggested at the United Nations General Assembly that the disagreement was mere “political theater” and that “certain European allies” had turned it into a dramatic spectacle. In retaliation, Prime Minister Morawiecki strongly responded during a rally in Swidnik, Poland, on Friday.
“I want to tell President Zelenskyy never to insult Poles again, as he did recently during his speech at the UN,” he said.
“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,” the Polish prime minister added.
Prime Minister Morawiecki’s remarks run the risk of further dividing two countries that were once strong allies, particularly in their joint opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Recent tensions between Poland and Ukraine have escalated due to the ban on Ukrainian grain, originally imposed by several EU nations earlier this year to safeguard their local farmers concerned about the competitive pricing of Ukrainian grain.
While the EU announced plans to lift the ban last week, Poland, along with Hungary and Slovakia, opted to maintain it.
This decision led to protests from Ukraine, which subsequently filed lawsuits against these three countries. President Zelensky’s comments at the UN further exacerbated the situation.
Poland swiftly denounced Zelensky’s UN remarks and summoned the Ukrainian ambassador to express a “strong protest.”
Later, the Polish prime minister issued a straightforward statement on social media, suggesting that Poland would cease transferring weapons to Ukraine because it was prioritizing its armament.
This statement initially indicated a significant policy shift, as Poland had been one of the most proactive countries in providing weapons and aid to Ukraine.
However, Polish President Andrzej Duda attempted to clarify on Thursday, stating that Morawiecki’s comments had been “misinterpreted.” Duda explained that Morawiecki was referring to new weapons procured for the Polish military, and older weapons systems deemed unnecessary for modernization might still be sent to Ukraine.
Historically, Poland has been a steadfast ally of Ukraine, along with several former Eastern bloc nations that share concerns about potential Russian aggression if President Vladimir Putin’s expansionist ambitions continue to succeed.
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