Polish president downplays differences between Poland, Ukraine

‘I do not believe one political, legal dispute can erase what you have achieved,’ Andrzej Duda says on differences over grain dispute, arms supply

Jo Harper  | 22.09.2023 - Update : 23.09.2023
Polish president downplays differences between Poland, Ukraine


Polish President Andrzej Duda on Friday downplayed recent differences between Poland and Ukraine over Ukrainian grain exports to Poland and Warsaw’s statement on halting arms supplies to Kyiv.

“I do not believe that one political and legal dispute can erase what you have achieved,” Duda said at the Congress for the Reconstruction of Ukraine in Poznan, western Poland.

Duda also thanked Polish businesses for helping the war-torn Ukraine. “This is absolutely crucial for what is most important, that is, for Ukraine to survive,” said the president.

On Wednesday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Warsaw would halt Polish supplies of arms to Ukraine over an ongoing dispute on Ukrainian grain exports to Poland that he said had undercut Polish farmers’ prices, hitting a key group of supporters for the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party before a general election in Oct. 15.

Zbigniew Rau, Poland’s foreign minister, said in an interview with Politico on Friday that “millions of victims of Russia's unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine — mostly women and children — found safety in neighboring Poland. Poland was the first to come to Ukraine's aid.”

Above all, Poland believed in Ukraine's victory, Rau went on to say.

“While other allies concluded that it was too late to arm the country. Tanks donated by Poland helped defend Kyiv and Polish-made howitzers helped liberate Russian-occupied territories in the Kharkov and Kherson regions,” he said.

“We think it was worth it […] our support for Ukraine is also in Poland's national interest,” he added.

“There is absolutely no contradiction here. Supporting Ukraine against Russian invasion and protecting our citizens and securing them from unfair economic competition - both of these actions simultaneously serve Poland's interests,” he said.

Rau went on to add that the emergency transit route for Ukrainian grain through Poland and its neighbors to its traditional recipients outside Europe had “ultimately turned out to be a scheme enabling unlimited grain sales on the Polish market."

He said that in the first four months of 2023, 600 times more wheat had been exported from Ukraine to Poland than a year earlier, causing market disruptions and losses for Polish farmers.

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