International Desk: Russia has been invading Ukraine for more than one and a half years. Allied European countries, including the United States, have been providing weapons to Kiev to counter this Russian aggression and at the same time counterattack against Moscow's forces. Even neighboring Poland was on the list of countries supplying arms to Ukraine. However, this country, known as one of Ukraine's staunchest allies, has announced that it will no longer supply arms to Kiev.
The country made this decision mainly because of the debate about whether or not to import Ukrainian grain. British media BBC reported this information in a report on Thursday (September 21). According to the report, Poland has announced that it will no longer supply arms to Ukraine due to a diplomatic dispute over Ukrainian grain imports. Poland's prime minister has said his country will focus on arming itself with more modern weapons instead of arming Kiev.
The move comes amid rising tensions between the two countries, mainly over grain imports. Earlier on Tuesday, Poland summoned the Ukrainian ambassador for the comments made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the United Nations. Earlier, Ukraine filed a case with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against three neighboring countries for banning food imports from Kiev. Those three countries are - Slovakia, Poland and Hungary.
Victims of Russian aggression, Kiev complains that such sanctions of Ukraine's EU neighbors are a violation of international obligations. On the other hand, these countries, which have stopped imports, say that this ban was necessary to protect their farmers from the effects of cheap grain imports.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced in a televised address on Wednesday that he would no longer supply arms to Ukraine, a day after tensions between the two countries quickly escalated over grain imports, the BBC reports. Mainly since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, the Black Sea's main shipping lanes have been closed, forcing Ukraine to seek alternative land routes. As a result, large quantities of grain flowed into Central Europe.
And because of this, the farmers of those countries have been protesting since then. They allege that Ukrainian grain shipments are hurting them and putting the local market at risk. And as a result of that pressure, the 27-member EU bloc earlier this year agreed to impose a trade embargo on Ukraine's grain imports to Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, as well as Bulgaria and Romania until September 15.
On the day the deadline expires, the European Commission, as the EU's executive body, decides not to extend the ban. But the governments of Budapest, Warsaw and Bratislava refused to comply with the European Commission's move and announced their own restrictions on grain imports. Because these countries fear that Ukrainian grain is undercutting the prices of locally produced grain for their country's farmers.
Although the European Commission has repeatedly stated, EU members cannot take any action or decision individually outside of the trade policies that the bloc adheres to. Ukraine's Finance Minister Yulia Sviridenko said, "It is very important for us to prove that (outside of the European Commission's decision) the bloc's member states cannot individually ban the import of Ukrainian goods." So we are filing a case against them (Slovakia, Poland and Hungary) at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
' Sviridenko added that Ukrainian exporters "have already suffered and are facing significant losses" due to unilateral sanctions. However, Poland has said a couple of days ago that it will defy all odds and maintain the ban on grain imports. "We are maintaining our position, we think it is the right one," Polish government spokesman Pior Muller said. The ban has been imposed based on economic analysis and powers derived from EU and international law.'
He even informed that this case filed in the World Trade Organization cannot affect Poland. In addition, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia still allow Ukrainian grain to be transported through their countries to other markets, even if they do not import it themselves. Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Wednesday that an EU study showed that importing Ukrainian grain would not harm farmers in other European countries.
He also termed the tension between Ukraine and Poland as 'sad'. Incidentally, Poland has given a lot of assistance to Ukraine against Russian aggression. Poland has also pledged to supply the country with fighter jets, in addition to its efforts to supply Kiev with powerful German-made Leopard-2 battle tanks. In addition, Poland has sheltered more than 1.5 million refugees who fled Ukraine due to Russian aggression.