Poland says it will stop sending weapons to Ukraine

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, right, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attend a press conference in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, right, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attend a press conference in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, April 5, 2023 Copyright Michal Dyjuk/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Christopher Pitchers
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It comes after a deepening dispute over Ukrainian grain exports.


Poland has announced that it will stop sending arms to Kyiv, amid a growing rift between the two countries over grain.

"We are no longer transferring any weapons to Ukraine,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday evening.

"We are mainly focusing on modernising and rapidly arming the Polish army, so that it becomes one of the most powerful land armies in Europe."

Warsaw has since clarified that it will finish sending its previously committed weapons shipments. Anything beyond this is still unknown.

Once Kyiv's staunchest ally in its war with Russia, Poland now seems to be at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Some analysts put this down to the looming elections, with Warsaw imposing the ban on Ukrainian grain to protect its own farmers, who say it is impossible to compete with its cheaper imports.

The European Commission said on Thursday that nothing has changed in the EU's relationship with Ukraine, despite the brewing row.

"The bottom line is that the EU position and EU policy remains unchanged and the policy and the position of the EU is unwavering, firm, unchanged support for Ukraine for as long as it takes in all the areas where we can support Ukraine, including the military assistance," a Commission spokesperson said.

Last Friday, the European Commission decided against extending a temporary EU ban on Ukrainian grain, despite Poland's wishes otherwise.

It left a bitter taste in Warsaw's mouth, with some in Polish corners saying that Brussels failed to do enough to satisfy Poland's needs.

For German Green MEP Sergey Lagodinsky, this assessment is an unfair one.

"The Commission has a difficult task. We have to secure the ability of Ukraine to survive also economically through this war," Lagodinsky told Euronews.

"We have to secure safe pathways for resources and food to the world on the one hand, and on the other hand, address Polish concerns. 

"And I think that the Commission was right in prioritising our ability to help Ukraine first and then look for ways on how to support and to address issues from Poland."

Another MEP, Urmas Paet, who sits on the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee, said that he does not believe Warsaw will stop sending Kyiv weapons.

"My clear position is that it's not going to happen. Poland knows very well what is at stake," Paet said in an interview.

"Poland knows how it is also in direct Polish and European interests that Ukraine gets all that it needs, also, when it concerns weapons."

Regardless of whether Warsaw carries out its threat or not, some experts are saying that the damage is already done, and relations between Poland and Ukraine could take years to repair.

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