Poland’s President Defends Ban On Ukrainian Products

After tensions arose between Poland and Ukraine over imports, Polish President Andrzej Duda justified the country’s unilateral embargo on Ukrainian agricultural exports.

Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia had access to EU grain imports limited in May because the cheaper Ukrainian grain was hurting their agricultural sectors and driving down domestic grain prices. Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia quickly rejected them after the bloc eased the restrictions last week. After a phone chat over grain imports, however, Mykola Solskyi, the agriculture minister in Ukraine, and Jacek Szymanowski, his Polish counterpart, agreed to look for a solution that considers both countries’ interests.

Because of the oft-times Russian blockades of its ports in the Black Sea during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, land exports of grain to the West have become critical for Ukraine. The opposition from central European allies is “political theater,” according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who added that it “helps set the scene for a Moscow actor.” As a result, the Polish government became irate and called in the Ukrainian ambassador.

However, he stresses the importance of maintaining high transit levels and thinks the decision to keep the embargo on the sale of Ukrainian grain was correct. To aid Ukraine and other nations in need, Poland has constructed transit routes for Ukrainian grain to travel through on its way to the countries that will benefit most.

Since Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia have refused to lift their bans on grain imports to Ukraine, the Ukrainian capital has taken the matter to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Warsaw has stopped supplying arms to Kyiv because of the growing conflict with Russia, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has announced. Despite the strain, Ukraine still wants to keep its ties with Poland and has stressed the importance of maintaining their strategic collaboration and friendship.