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Polish-Ukrainian relations at low ebb: FM

02.10.2023 22:30
Poland’s top diplomat said that his absence at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Kyiv on Monday reflected a “downturn” in Polish-Ukrainian relations.
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau.
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau.X/Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Zbigniew Rau made the remark in a media interview on Monday night, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

Earlier in the day, EU foreign ministers began an informal get-together in the Ukrainian capital, the first such meeting outside the bloc, to discuss further support for Ukraine, the Espreso TV website reported.

Poland was represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Wojciech Gerwel, according to officials. 

Asked about his absence, Poland’s top diplomat told private broadcaster Polsat News: “When it comes to relations between Poland and Ukraine, we are entering a period of downturn and my absence partly reflects this.”

Rau was asked if his non-appearance in Kyiv was in response to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks to the United Nations General Assembly last month that some EU countries “feigned solidarity” with Kyiv while indirectly supporting Russia.   

The Polish foreign minister replied that Warsaw and Kyiv shared a “strategic interest in containing Russian imperialism,” while “in day-to-day national interests there is a divergence when it comes to the transit of Ukrainian grain through Poland.”

Rau added that Ukraine’s decision to raise the “sectoral issue” of grain exports at the UN General Assembly “undermined our public’s trust in the Ukrainian government’s current policy towards Poland.”

The Polish foreign minister also said that Poland was “fulfilling all our earlier military, political and other commitments" towards Ukraine, "including commitments arising from our NATO membership."

Rau argued that “the Ukrainian side will undoubtedly find a way” to fix bilateral relations with Poland “if it has the will to do so,” the PAP news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Poland's Gerwel told the Kyiv meeting that the EU’s strategic aim of admitting Ukraine to the bloc in the future remained unchanged, public broadcaster’s Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported. 

The Polish deputy foreign minister said that Ukraine’s accession to the EU was in Poland’s strategic interests and voiced hope that Kyiv’s progress in delivering reforms would allow the bloc to invite Ukraine to accession negotiations by the end of the year. 

Gerwel also encouraged other member states to increase their military support for Ukraine’s war effort against the Russian invasion, the IAR news agency reported.  

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

Monday is day 586 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, Espreso TV