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Poland seeks to have one of Europe's strongest armies: PM

21.09.2023 07:30
Poland is modernising and strengthening its army to have one of the strongest armed forces in Europe, the prime minister has said.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak

Mateusz Morawiecki made the declaration in a television interview on Wednesday night, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Asked if Poland would continue to support Ukraine militarily, the prime minister told private broadcaster Polsat News that “currently Poland is not supplying Ukraine with any military equipment.”

Morawiecki added: “Poland is now arming itself, with state-of-the-art weapons.”

He said the government had “stepped up orders” of military equipment and domestic arms makers were “working at full tilt,” including a factory in the central city of Radom he had visited earlier in the day.

The prime minister declared: “We are seeking to modernise and quickly arm the Polish military to make it one of the most powerful armies in Europe.”

Poland 'firmly rejects Ukrainian president’s words': PM

Morawiecki was also asked about the current state of Polish-Ukrainian relations, following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s controversial remarks to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

Zelensky suggested that Poland, Hungary and Slovakia were “making a thriller” from the issue of Ukrainian grain, according to news outlets.

The Polish prime minister said that Polish-Ukrainian relations were “difficult” in the wake of this statement and added that Poland “firmly rejects” Zelensky’s words. 

Morawiecki said Poland had been supporting Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion and helped persuade countries such as Germany that “Ukraine can defend itself.”

He added that Poland’s foreign ministry on Wednesday summoned Ukraine’s ambassador “to explain that when it comes to agriculture, Poland will always protect its interests.”  

The prime minister said that Poland had banned the import of grain from Ukraine because “Ukrainian or Russian oligarchs must not be allowed to run Poland’s grain market.”

He stated: “We say yes to transit, we say yes to export, but we say no to the destabilisation of the Polish market.”

Referring to Zelensky’s words, Morawiecki also issued “a word of warning to Kyiv” not to make statements that are "welcomed by Russian trolls” and fuel a discord between Poland and Ukraine, the PAP news agency reported. 

Poland bans import of grain from Ukraine

The Polish government on Friday night placed an embargo on the import of several agricultural products from Ukraine, including wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower.

Slovakia and Hungary have since introduced similar bans, according to reports.

These developments came after the EU’s executive Commission on Friday announced that it would not prolong the bloc's ban on the import of wheat, corn, rapeseed, sunflower and sunflower oil from Ukraine to Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.

Poland has banned the import of Ukrainian wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower, as well as related products, including rapeseed meal, until further notice, news outlets reported.

Meanwhile, the transit of these products through Poland to other countries, or to Poland’s seaports, remains allowed, according to officials. 

The Polish government said that “given the current market situation, the embargo is justified and is designed to help maintain Poland’s food security and public security.”

An influx of Ukrainian grain would “cause another crash on the Polish grain market,” and so the ban will “help prevent strikes and social unrest,” officials added.

On Monday, Ukraine’s Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko announced that Kyiv had filed a lawsuit against Poland, Hungary and Slovakia at the World Trade Organisation over the ban on food imports from the country.

“It is crucially important for us to prove that individual [EU] member states cannot ban imports of Ukrainian goods,” Svyrydenko said in a statement. “That is why we are filing lawsuits against them.”

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Thursday is day 575 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, Polsat News