Ukraine has expressed anger over remarks made by a senior Polish official suggesting that Kyiv should show appreciation for Poland’s help during the war. The comments were labeled as “opportunistic,” “manipulative,” and “treacherous” by a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Ukrainian foreign ministry has invited Poland’s ambassador to discuss the “unacceptable” remarks.
The dispute between the two countries revolves around a ban on the import of Ukrainian grain to Poland and four other eastern EU member states, which Poland wants to extend beyond September 15. Ukraine, on the other hand, wants to resume exports. Poland, along with Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania, has called on the EU to extend the ban.
During an appearance on state broadcaster TVP, Marcin Przydacz, the head of Polish President Andrzej Duda’s international policy office, emphasized the importance of defending the interests of Polish farmers and suggested that Ukraine should appreciate the role Poland has played in supporting them. This prompted a strong response from Ukraine, rejecting claims of not appreciating Poland’s help and accusing Polish politicians of serving Russia’s interests.
The tensions between the two countries have strained relations, with the ban on Ukrainian agricultural exports being a major point of contention. Farmers in Poland and other eastern EU member states argued that the influx of Ukrainian grain had been driving down prices, leading to the introduction of a unilateral import ban by Poland. Ukraine has lobbied against the extension of the ban, leading to further disagreements.
Despite the current disagreements, it’s important to note that Poland has been a significant ally of Ukraine since the Russian invasion. They have provided military, humanitarian, and diplomatic support. However, the issue of agricultural exports has caused strain in the relationship. Germany and France are opposed to extending the ban, while Poland insists on its renewal, even threatening to introduce another unilateral ban if the EU does not approve an extension.
Although tensions persist, both Ukraine and Poland have emphasized that their relationship remains strong. The current dispute over the import ban does not diminish the support and cooperation between the two countries during these challenging times.