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Poland will not ship weapons to Ukraine, Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki has mentioned, in an escalation of tensions between Warsaw and Kyiv that threatens the west’s unity in supporting the nation because it battles Russia’s invasion.
The menace is the newest salvo in a trade dispute that revolves round Poland’s refusal to simply accept imports of Ukrainian grain, in contravention of EU guidelines, as Morawiecki’s ruling occasion steps up nationalist rhetoric forward of subsequent month’s elections.
Final weekend Poland, alongside Hungary and Slovakia, unilaterally prolonged an import ban on Ukrainian grain, even after Kyiv promised to make sure its exports wouldn’t hurt EU farmers. That provoked a backlash from Ukrainian officers, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Requested whether or not Warsaw would nonetheless assist Ukraine militarily, Morawiecki replied on Wednesday night on the Polsat tv channel: “We’re not transferring any weapons, as a result of we are going to now arm ourselves with probably the most fashionable weapons.”
Morawiecki’s feedback sign a outstanding U-turn from a authorities that had beforehand been a linchpin of the EU and Nato’s united entrance in assist of Ukraine, as one in every of Europe’s closest allies of each Washington and Kyiv.
However on Thursday some senior authorities officers in Warsaw instantly sought to minimize the implications of the prime minister’s feedback, insisting Poland remained dedicated to serving to Ukraine win the battle and that no choice had been made about long-term deliveries of weapons.
“For the time being it’s because the prime minister mentioned, sooner or later we are going to see,” deputy prime minister Jacek Sasin instructed Polish Radio Plus.
Warsaw has constantly urged the west to provide more weapons and monetary assist to Ukraine and to extend sanctions and political stress on Russia.
The menace to dam future arms shipments might additionally derail efforts by the EU to agree a €20bn Ukraine weapons fund for the subsequent 4 years, which requires unanimity among the many bloc’s 27 members and is already being opposed by Hungary.
Western officers sought to minimize the remarks as an emotional response to the tensions over the grain dispute and the home Polish political context, and wouldn’t herald the top of Warsaw’s assist for Kyiv’s battle effort.
“I simply don’t see any proof of that all through the forms in Poland. There’s a agency dedication to remain the course,” mentioned a senior US official in response to Morawiecki’s remarks. “I don’t suppose we are going to see a dramatic shift in alliance unity.”
One EU official mentioned: “It adjustments nothing at this stage . . . as all the time with Poland there may be normally an enormous hole between their public statements and actual actions. The actual drawback would possibly come in the event that they resolve to dam the [EU weapons fund] which they haven’t up to now and I doubt they might.”
Poland is getting ready for a fiercely contested October 15 election, wherein Morawiecki’s ruling Regulation and Justice (PiS) occasion wants the backing of its rural citizens to win a 3rd time period in workplace.
One other participant within the grain blockade, Slovakia, is holding an election on September 30 whose frontrunner, Robert Fico, needs to cease help to Ukraine.