As Dispute With Ukraine Escalates, Poland Says It Won’t Send New Weapons

The Polish authorities mentioned they might provide Ukraine “only” with already promised weapons, the newest in an escalating public dispute between Kyiv and one in all its staunchest allies that comes because the ruling celebration in Warsaw is attempting to fend off a far-right competitor forward of a nationwide election.

The assertion got here a day after the nation’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, informed a nationwide broadcaster that Poland was “no longer transferring any weapons to Ukraine, because we are now arming ourselves with the most modern weapons.” But Mr. Morawiecki additionally insisted that “we will certainly not risk Ukraine’s security,” and mentioned {that a} very important transit hub for Western weapons flowing into Ukraine by means of the Polish metropolis of Rzeszow “still plays the same role it has played and will continue to play.”

It wasn’t instantly clear how far more weaponry Poland nonetheless has to supply or what the repercussions of such a transfer can be. But the general public feedback have risked fracturing Europe’s assist for Ukraine because it faces the prospect of one other lengthy winter of preventing.

Since Russia started its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Poland has been Kyiv’s most vocal backer within the E.U. and a linchpin of its united entrance towards Moscow. As Ukraine’s neighbor, it hosts main logistics bases for the availability of weapons provides; has grow to be dwelling to over 1.7 million Ukrainian refugees; and has been the fiercest advocate for steady monetary and navy assist to Kyiv.

But in latest months the narrative of the ruling Law and Justice celebration has shifted, with Warsaw final week defying a call by Brussels to elevate a brief ban on Ukrainian agricultural imports.

Mr. Morawiecki’s considerably contradictory remarks gave the impression to be a part of a pre-election push by the governing celebration to reassure voters that it’ll not put Ukraine’s pursuits forward of Polish residents, and particularly farmers, who’re offended over low costs for his or her produce that they blame on an inflow of low cost Ukrainian grain. His right-wing governing celebration is being squeezed by its far-right competitor, Konfederacja, which has been vocal about lowering Poland’s help for Ukraine.

Poland has delivered lots of of Soviet-era tanks and armored personnel carriers for Ukraine’s warfare effort, in addition to 14 MiG-29 fighter jets. The transfers have largely exhausted Poland’s inventory of Soviet-designed weaponry, extra simply allotted with than the fashionable, Western-made arms on the coronary heart of its ambitions because the dominant navy energy on NATO’s jap flank.

Although to date there have been no adjustments in Poland’s coverage towards Ukraine, Mr. Morawiecki’s feedback showcase the federal government’s fraught place because it scrambles for votes earlier than the election in October and threatens to deepen the general public disagreement between Warsaw and Kyiv.

The authorities’s spokesman Piotr Mueller mentioned in an interview on Thursday that Poland “only carries out previously agreed supplies of ammunition and weapons, including those resulting from the contracts signed with Ukraine.” Asked whether or not Warsaw would select to not signal new contracts for delivering arms to Kyiv, Mr. Mueller declined to reply.

Together with Hungary and Slovakia, Poland final week launched a unilateral ban on gross sales of Ukrainian agricultural exports inside its borders, arguing that low cost Ukrainian produce was seeping into home markets and hurting farmers. Slovakia can be holding elections quickly, on Sept. 30, and farmers are an necessary political constituency for authorities in each international locations.

The declared bans have angered Ukraine, which this week filed a grievance with the World Trade Organization towards the three international locations. Ukraine’s minister of agriculture, Mykola Solskyi, mentioned he had talked together with his Polish counterpart “to find a solution that takes into account the interests of both countries” and that there shall be additional talks within the coming days. Poland didn’t instantly touch upon the assertion.

And Slovakia’s authorities on Thursday mentioned that they had reached an settlement with Ukraine, during which Kyiv will concern licenses to exporters to manage the movement of grain. Ukraine didn’t instantly remark, however its agricultural ministry mentioned on Wednesday that officers from the 2 international locations had “discussed cooperation in the agricultural sector.”

Mr. Zelensky informed the United Nations General Assembly this week that “it is alarming to see how some in Europe, some of our friends in Europe, play out solidarity in a political theater — making a thriller from the grain.” Mr. Zelensky added that they “are helping set the stage to a Moscow actor.”

The Polish Foreign Ministry mentioned on Wednesday that it had summoned the Ukrainian ambassador over Mr. Zelensky’s feedback.

The European Union, which reimburses a part of the prices of weapons delivered by member nations to Ukraine, tried to minimize considerations about weapons deliveries. Warsaw has to date supplied Kyiv with navy assist value over $3 billion, together with tanks, armored autos, and ammunition. The bloc is at the moment negotiating a €20 billion, or $21.3 billion, fund to finance weapons for Ukraine over the following 4 years, which requires settlement from all 27 member nations.

“What is important are the concrete actions, and the concrete actions on the ground are that Ukraine still receives military support from the European Union member states,” Peter Stano, E.U. spokesman for international affairs informed reporters on Thursday when requested about Mr. Morawiecki’s feedback.

Anatol Magdziarz, Constant Méheut and Andrew Higgins contributed reporting.

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