Polish President Andrzej Duda has emphasized the crucial role that Poland plays in providing military aid to Ukraine amid a dispute over grain imports. Duda’s remarks came after Ukraine initiated legal action against Poland over its embargo on Ukrainian grain imports, citing violations of World Trade Organization rules.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York, Duda stated that Ukraine should not forget the support it receives from Poland, highlighting that Poland serves as a transit country for military aid to Ukraine. The Polish president also compared Ukraine to a drowning person, cautioning that it could be dangerous and potentially drag Poland down in its struggle for survival.
Duda justified Poland’s embargo on Ukrainian grain by noting the need to protect its domestic markets from an influx of cheap grain. He argued that Polish farmers would be adversely affected if businessmen exploited the situation to sell grain rapidly and at low prices.
Despite the European Commission’s lifting of bloc-wide restrictions, Poland recently extended its temporary ban on Ukrainian grain imports. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki justified this decision, asserting that it is crucial for protecting the interests of Polish farmers.
Ukraine responded to Poland’s embargo by taking legal action against not only Poland but also Hungary and Slovakia, accusing the three countries of violating WTO rules. Ukrainian Economy Minister Yulia Sviridenko emphasized the importance of proving that individual member states cannot ban Ukrainian goods.
Poland has emerged as a significant logistical hub for Western military aid to Ukraine. Furthermore, many foreign heads of state visiting Kiev since Russia’s military operation in Ukraine began in February 2022 have used Poland as a transit route. In addition, Polish territory has been utilized as a training ground for Ukrainian troops to familiarize themselves with foreign heavy weapons, including German-made Leopard 2 tanks.
The dispute over grain imports has further strained the relationship between Poland and Ukraine. While Ukraine seeks to protect its economy and reinforce its global trade relationships, Poland is committed to safeguarding its domestic market and supporting its agricultural sector.
As the legal battle ensues, it remains to be seen how the tensions between the two countries will be resolved. The involvement of the World Trade Organization adds an additional layer of complexity to the dispute. Both Poland and Ukraine continue to assert their respective positions, highlighting the importance of finding a mutually beneficial resolution.