Home Feature News Poland says it should cease arming Ukraine. How did we get right here — and what does it imply for the struggle? | CNN

Poland says it should cease arming Ukraine. How did we get right here — and what does it imply for the struggle? | CNN

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Poland says it should cease arming Ukraine. How did we get right here — and what does it imply for the struggle? | CNN

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London
CNN
 — 

Considered one of Ukraine’s closest and most vocal allies has now stated it should cease sending arms to Kyiv, a serious reversal that threatens to upend Europe’s strategic relationship with the nation because it wages a counteroffensive in opposition to Russia.

Poland’s resolution was each sudden and predictable, coming after months of tensions over a brief ban on Ukrainian grain imports to a lot of European Union international locations.

It additionally follows a sample of more and more confrontational conduct in direction of Kyiv from Poland’s authorities, simply weeks earlier than a good basic election.

And it may have implications for Ukraine’s makes an attempt to push Russian forces in a foreign country’s southern areas, in an ongoing assault that has been making gradual and grinding progress.

Right here’s what you have to know:

What has Poland introduced?

“We not switch weapons to Ukraine as a result of we at the moment are arming Poland,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated in a blunt social media assertion on Wednesday.

Morawiecki added in a tv interview that Poland will now deal with supplying “essentially the most trendy weapons” for its personal functions, state information company PAP reported. “If you wish to defend your self you need to have one thing to defend with,” the prime minister stated.

It marks a serious change in coverage. Within the spring, Poland turned the primary NATO nation to ship fighter jets to Ukraine – months forward of the USA, which solely agreed final month to approve the switch of F-16 jets, pending the completion of coaching by Ukrainian forces.

It has additionally beforehand despatched greater than 200 Soviet-style tanks to Ukraine, and most Western navy tools and different provides attain Ukrainian forces by crossing Polish territory.

Poland will now solely perform the provides of ammunition and weapons to Kyiv that have been agreed earlier than Warsaw made its resolution to cease shipments, authorities spokesman Piotr Muller stated Thursday, based on PAP.

Poland President Andrzej Duda 091923

Polish president on what Ukraine should do as Putin’s struggle rages

Muller emphasised that Ukraine has made a collection of “completely unacceptable statements and diplomatic gestures” and that “Poland doesn’t settle for this kind of unjustified actions,” PAP reported.

Ukraine seemingly moved to ease the rift on Thursday. Kyiv’s minister of agrarian coverage stated he had spoken together with his Polish counterpart and issued a press release saying the pair “mentioned the state of affairs and Ukraine’s proposal to resolve it, and agreed to discover a resolution that takes into consideration the pursuits of each international locations.”

It additionally agreed to determine a grain commerce system with Slovakia that might allow a ban on imports of Ukrainian grain to be lifted, Slovakia’s agriculture ministry stated on Thursday.

Strain has been constructing for months over a ban on Ukrainian grain, initially put in place earlier this 12 months by a number of EU nations to guard the livelihood of native farmers nervous about being undercut by the low worth of Ukrainian grain.

Final week, the EU introduced plans to droop the rule. However three nations – Poland, Hungary and Slovakia – stated they supposed to defy the change and maintain the restrictions in place. It prompted protests from Ukraine, which this week filed lawsuits in opposition to all three international locations over the difficulty.

Ukraine, typically referred to as the “breadbasket of Europe” because of the huge portions of grain it produces, had its Black Sea ports blockaded by Russia following its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Fearing that the state of affairs was “threatening world meals safety,” the European Fee arrange what it referred to as “solidarity lanes” in Could to facilitate exports, and quickly eradicated all duties and quotas on Ukraine’s exports, permitting a glut of low-cost Ukrainian grain to circulate into the continent.

Combines harvest wheat in a field in the Zaporizhzhia region of Russian-controlled Ukraine.

Anger in Poland has been simmering because the spring, when farmers led demonstrations in opposition to the strikes. However they erupted as soon as once more in latest days, after the choice of the three nations to disregard the removing of the ban.

In a swipe in opposition to the trio on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky instructed the UN Common Meeting in New York that “it’s alarming to see how some in Europe, a few of our associates in Europe, play out solidarity in a political theater – making a thriller from the grain.”

Zelensky added that the nations concerned “could seem to play their very own position however actually they’re serving to set the stage to a Moscow actor.” His feedback sparked rapid condemnation from Poland, with the international ministry summoning the Ukrainian ambassador to convey its “robust protest.”

Poland’s preliminary response to the struggle on Ukraine earned its populist authorities a uncommon swelling of goodwill from throughout Europe, and made it a serious participant within the Western response to Russia’s aggression.

The nation has taken in additional than 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees and allowed 15 million to cross its borders to flee the battle. The 2 international locations shared a decades-old suspicion of Moscow and Warsaw had warned for years of the pitfalls of shopping for Russian vitality, which melded their relationship within the preliminary phases of the struggle.

However tensions have frayed in latest months, exacerbated by a pivotal election.

Poland’s populist ruling get together, Legislation and Justice (PiS), are making ready for a vote on October 15 which opinion polls recommend may end in them dropping their parliamentary majority. They’re notably struggling of their stronghold rural areas in japanese Poland, the place agriculture is a crucial financial pillar.

Poland's Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, faces a tight election next month.

PiS is dropping a bit of its typical voter base to the Confederation get together, a traditionally far-right group that has been rallying in opposition to the prices of Warsaw’s navy support to Kyiv and complained that Ukraine’s plight has turn into a better precedence for the federal government than that of Polish individuals.

In response, PiS has seemingly toned down its help for Kyiv in latest months and proven willingness to tackle a extra combative stance. In August, Warsaw summoned the Ukrainian ambassador to Poland after a Polish international coverage adviser accused Kyiv of being ungrateful for Poland’s help in exporting its grain.

If an answer isn’t discovered, Kyiv may have issues that Poland’s resolution to cease sending weapons will reverberate by way of Europe.

Warsaw has been among the many most keen nations to bolster Kyiv’s arsenal because the preliminary days of the full-scale struggle, and has proven a willingness to push different European powers and the US into becoming a member of them.

In January, when Germany agonized over whether or not to supply Leopard 2 battle tanks to Kyiv’s troops, Poland took a number one position in bringing collectively a European coalition that gave Berlin sufficient leeway to make the transfer.

For days, Polish officers talked up publicly and privately their need to get the high-tech fight automobiles onto the entrance strains, and insisted they’d accomplish that whether or not or not fellow nations got here with them.

Kyiv and its allies may have issues that if Warsaw takes a brand new perspective to future arms shipments, different hesitant European international locations will really feel much less stress to additionally donate provides.

The urgency of the struggle to Poland has additionally slipped over the course of 12 months. Poles had lengthy warned that their nation was within the crosshairs of Russia’s imperial designs, and Moscow’s invasion spiked fears that Poland can be a future goal.

However with the struggle now slowed down in Ukraine’s east and Moscow’s military struggling critical deficiencies in manpower and management, the prospect of Russian President Vladimir Putin attacking a NATO nation equivalent to Poland seems slim.

The continuing Ukraine counteroffensive has in the meantime benefited from Western help and provides, however Kyiv has pushed for extra to see it by way of what’s prone to be a prolonged and cussed battle. It is going to fear that Poland’s resolution may trigger a domino impact that leaves future shipments in jeopardy.

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