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Poland no longer arming Ukraine, Polish PM says

Poland no longer arming Ukraine, Polish PM says
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki addresses a press conference in Warsaw, Poland, July 5, 2023.
PHOTO: Reuters file

WARSAW — Poland is no longer arming Ukraine as it is focusing on building up its own stocks of weapons, the prime minister said on Wednesday (Sept 20), as Warsaw's stance towards Kyiv shifts just weeks before an election.

Poland has been one of Ukraine's staunchest allies since Russia invaded the country in February 2022, but the countries have fallen out over Ukrainian grain exports after Warsaw extended a ban on them.

"We are no longer transferring any weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming ourselves with the most modern weapons," Mateusz Morawiecki told Polsat News.

Morawiecki's words came after Poland summoned the Ukrainian ambassador to the foreign ministry to protest against comments made by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy following Poland's decision to extend the grain ban.

The ban was introduced to protect Polish farmers from a surge of grain and food imports from Ukraine, after Russia's invasion largely blocked Ukraine's routes via Black Sea ports.

Zelenskiy had told the United Nations General Assembly Kyiv was working to preserve land routes for grain exports, but added that the "political theatre" around grain imports was only helping Moscow.

Poland, Slovakia and Hungary announced curbs on grain imports from Ukraine on Friday after the European Commission decided not to extend a ban on sales into five EU states, including Romania and Bulgaria.

Poland holds parliamentary elections on Oct 15, and the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party has come in for criticism from the far right for what it says is the government's subservient attitude to Ukraine.

Ukraine's foreign ministry called for calm in the dispute on Wednesday, with a foreign ministry spokesman urging the Poles to "put aside their emotions".

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