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Poland summons Ukrainian envoy over Zelensky’s UN remarks

20.09.2023 19:30
The Polish foreign ministry has summoned the Ukrainian ambassador to protest at the Ukrainian president’s statement at the United Nations that some European countries were "playing out solidarity in a political theater," frustrating Ukraine's efforts to preserve land routes for grain exports amid Russia's invasion.
Photo:PAP/Albert Zawada

Poland’s foreign ministry called in Ukraine’s Vasyl Zvarych on Wednesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The Ukrainian ambassador "was received by Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński," officials said.

Jabłoński “expressed the Polish side’s firm protest at the remarks made by President Volodymyr Zelensky at the United Nations General Assembly yesterday,” the foreign ministry in Warsaw said in a statement afterwards.

It added that Zelensky had made remarks “to the effect that some of the EU countries pretended to act in solidarity, while indirectly supporting Russia.”

The foreign ministry also said: “The deputy foreign minister noted that such a statement was untrue with regard to Poland, and especially unjustified with regard to our country, which has been supporting Ukraine from the first days of the war.”

Jabłoński also told Ukraine’s ambassador that “exerting pressure on Poland on multilateral fora, or filing lawsuits with international tribunals, are not the appropriate means of resolving disputes between our countries,” the PAP news agency reported.

The Polish deputy foreign minister added that “these measures won’t be effective with regard to Poland, because the steps taken by the Polish government to protect the interests of Polish farmers are in line with national, EU and international law.”

Jabłoński told Zvarych that Poland “expects that both Ukraine’s policies, and its public communications, will reflect the actual character of Polish-Ukrainian relations, both past and present, taking into account the unprecedented assistance extended to Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian state by Poland and Polish people, and the full range of our good cooperation,” according to the Polish foreign ministry.

Zelensky’s words 'were very inappropriate': Polish PM

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a media interview on Wednesday that Zelensky’s words "were very inappropriate,” the PAP news agency reported.

Morawiecki argued that his government “kept its word” and introduced the embargo on the import of grain from Ukraine, "as promised to Polish farmers." 

The Polish prime minister told state broadcaster TVP Info: “If there is further escalation on the Ukrainian side, then we’ll take the next suitable steps as part of the embargo.”

He also said on Facebook that Poland was "ready to assist Ukraine" further in its fight against the Russian invasion, however "not at the cost of destabilising the Polish market." 

Zelensky’s remarks 'astonishing' and 'unfair': Polish presidential aide

Marcin Przydacz, a top foreign policy aide to Polish President Andrzej Duda, has described Zelensky’s remarks as “astonishing, but at the same time also unfair." 

Przydacz told reporters on Wednesday that Poland stood by the ban on Ukrainian grain and would protect its economic interests, the PAP news agency reported.

Przydacz also said that Duda’s meeting with Zelensky at the UN in New York could still take place, after their talks were called off on Tuesday due to delays in the official programme of the UN General Assembly. 

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Ukraine’s president said: “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.”      

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.

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


Source: IAR, PAP, gov.pl