Poland to stop giving Ukraine weapons as grain row escalates


Poland will stop supplying weapons to Ukraine after a row about grain imports saw President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticise the country at the UN and Warsaw summon Kyiv’s ambassador.

Poland has been one of the biggest suppliers of arms to Ukraine, transferring many of its older weapons, as well as taking in a huge number of refugees.

But Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the scheme would end because it is updating its arms inventory.

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“We are no longer transferring any weapons to Ukraine because now we will arm ourselves with the most modern weapons,” he told Polsat News.

He denied it was related to the grain row and said his decision wouldn’t impact weapons transfers through Poland, where Rzeszow is an international hub for shuttling arms across the border.

Relations have soured after Poland last week joined Hungary and Slovakia in extending an EU ban on Ukrainian grain to protect its own farmers.

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President Zelenskyy attacked the decision at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

“Alarmingly, some in Europe play out solidarity in a political theatre – turning grain into a thriller,” he said.

“They may seem to play their own roles. In fact, they’re helping set the stage for a Moscow actor.”

Poland called in the Ukrainian ambassador for a dressing down on Wednesday and said deputy foreign minister Pawel Jablonski had expressed a “strong protest”.

President Zelenskyy said at the UN that the grain ban was helping Russia

It said he had told Vasyl Zvarych that “sending complaints to international tribunals are not appropriate methods of resolving disputes between our countries”.

Some European nations have seen a surge in Ukrainian grain as Russian blockades mean it can no longer export to other parts of the world.

On Friday, the European Commission decided not to extend a ban on sales to five countries – Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia.

However, the latter three said they would maintain the ban.

Ukraine like a ‘drowning person’

Kyiv’s foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Facebook: “We urge our Polish friends to put aside their emotions.

“The Ukrainian side has offered Poland a constructive path to resolve the grain issue.”

He said their ambassador had stressed the “unacceptability” of Poland’s ban – and also the “incorrectness” of comments by Polish President Andrzej Duda.

The Polish leader, speaking to reporters in New York, said Ukraine should remember it gets help from Poland and likened the country to a “drowning person”.

“A drowning person is extremely dangerous because he can pull you to the depth… He can simply drown the rescuer,” he said.

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Ukraine has threatened retaliatory measures on some imports if the countries blocking its grain don’t change course – as well as lodging a protest with the World Trade Organisation.

Mr Morawiecki hit back during his Polsat News on Wednesday.

“I warn the Ukrainian authorities, because if they escalate this conflict in this way, we will add more products to the ban on import into the territory of the Republic of Poland,” he said.

Some commentators believe Poland’s decision to stop weapons transfers is related to next month’s parliamentary elections.

The country’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice party has been criticised by the far right for what it says is a subservient attitude to Ukraine.

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