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Polish official slams Zelensky’s UN remarks about Ukrainian grain ban

20.09.2023 13:00
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks to the United Nations, in which he said that some of Ukraine’s friends were making “a thriller” out of the grain issue, are “astonishing and unfair,” a Polish presidential aide has said.
Marin Przydacz
Marin PrzydaczJakub Szymczuk / KPRP / prezydent.pl

Marcin Przydacz made the comment in an interview with public broadcaster Polish Radio on Wednesday.

Przydacz, who is the top foreign policy aide to Polish President Andrzej Duda, was asked in the interview about Zelensky’s address to the UN General Assembly a day earlier.

In his speech, Zelensky said on Tuesday: “We launched a temporary sea export corridor from our ports. And we are working hard to preserve the land routes for grain exports. And 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. They may seem to play their own role but in fact they are helping set the stage to a Moscow actor.”

Przydacz, who is accompanying the Polish president at the UN in New York this week, commented that Zelensky’s words were “astonishing, but at the same time also unfair." 

Przydacz noted that “Poland has played a key role in supporting Ukraine” in its fight against Russia's invasion "for many months."

Asked about Warsaw's possible response, Przydacz said that “Poland must above all pursue its national interest” and that Warsaw’s continued support for Kyiv was "in line with the interests of national security."

The Polish presidential official added that "at the same time, Poland should also protect its economic interests."

Przydacz pointed out that Poland’s ban on the import of Ukrainian grain did not cover transit, which remained allowed. 

He stated: “Transit works both ways. We allow the transit of Ukrainian grain to Polish ports and further on, while Ukraine receives most goods, including those it needs the most today, through Poland.”

He told Polish Radio that the Ukrainian government "would do well to remember that Poland is a transit country for Ukraine.”

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 WTO 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.

Wednesday is day 574 of Russia’s war on Ukraine. 


Source: PAP, niezalezna.pl, president.gov.ua