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Grain spat drags Ukraine’s ties with ally Poland to lowest level since begin of Russian invasion

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WARSAW, Poland — A dispute about whether or not Ukrainian grain must be allowed to enter the home markets of Poland and different European Union international locations has pushed the tight relationship between Kyiv and Warsaw to its lowest level since Russia invaded Ukraine final yr.

Polish leaders have in contrast Ukraine to a drowning particular person hurting his helper and threatened to increase a ban on meals merchandise from the war-torn nation. In the meantime, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy advised that EU allies which are prohibiting imports of his nation’s grain are serving to Russia.

Poland, on NATO’s japanese flank, has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine, sending weapons and humanitarian assist and opening its borders to refugees.

Now, Polish officers, who’re making an attempt to win parliamentary elections subsequent month with the assistance from farmers’ votes, are expressing dismay over a few of Ukraine’s newest strikes, together with a World Commerce Group criticism over bans on Ukrainian grain from Poland and two different EU international locations.

“Alarmingly, some in Europe play out solidarity in a political theater — turning grain right into a thriller. They could appear to play their very own roles. The truth is they’re serving to set the stage for a Moscow actor,” Zelenskyy stated Tuesday through the U.N. Common Meeting.

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Poland’s deputy overseas minister, Pawel Jablonski, on Wednesday voiced “sturdy protest” of Zelenskyy’s feedback to Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Zvarych.

Jablonski “indicated that it’s unfaithful, so far as Poland is worried, and that the opinion is unjustified towards the nation that has been supporting Ukraine from the very first days of the struggle,” the Polish Overseas Ministry stated in a press release.

Poland’s ruling social gathering, Regulation and Justice, is preventing for the votes of farmers, a lot of whom are upset that Ukraine’s meals merchandise have flooded the native market, pushing costs down and hurting their livelihoods.

Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia banned some Ukrainian agricultural items after the EU just lately determined to carry such restrictions. Croatia joined in Tuesday, when Kyiv introduced it was responding with a WTO criticism.

“Ukraine is behaving like a drowning particular person clinging to all the pieces he can … however now we have the correct to defend ourselves towards hurt being executed to us,” Polish President Andrzej Duda advised reporters Tuesday in New York, the place he was attending the U.N. Common Meeting.

The rising tensions spotlight the dangers Ukraine faces in sustaining Western assist as its battle towards Russia drags on.

Ukraine prevailing is so essential to Poland that it will not be more likely to prohibit the army help to Ukraine. Poland has bitter reminiscences of being subjected to Moscow’s rule previously and doesn’t need to see Russia win a struggle in a neighboring nation.

However the ruling social gathering faces an election problem from a brand new far-right coalition, Confederation, whose leaders complain that the nation is doing an excessive amount of to assist Ukraine and declare Ukraine isn’t grateful sufficient.

The rift additionally reveals how Ukraine and its neighbors are competing agricultural powers and the way European protection of home farmers might complicate Kyiv’s hopes for a future path into the EU.

Ukraine — a significant international provider of wheat, barley, corn and vegetable oil — has struggled since Russia’s invasion to get its meals merchandise to components of the world battling starvation. All of the EU international locations will hold permitting Ukrainian merchandise to maneuver by their borders to world markets.

Russia dealt an enormous blow by withdrawing in July from a wartime settlement that ensured secure passage for Ukrainian grain by the Black Sea. That has left dearer routes by Europe as the principle means for Ukraine to get its merchandise to growing nations the place meals costs have risen since Russia’s struggle started.

Nevertheless, the primary ship loaded with grain left a Ukrainian port this week below a short lived Black Sea hall.

Ukraine additionally threatened this week to ban some Polish meals objects, however appeared to again off that. Such a transfer would deliver solely extra bans from Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated.

“I’m warning the Ukrainian authorities, as a result of in the event that they escalate the battle on this means, we’ll add extra merchandise to the ban on imports into Poland,” Morawiecki stated Wednesday on Polsat Information.

He argued that Ukrainian officers don’t appear to know how Poland’s agricultural market has been destabilized by the struggle.

In Bulgaria, the pro-Russia Socialist social gathering has submitted a proposal to parliament to ban meals from Ukraine. Thus far, the federal government is simply halting the import of sunflower seeds till a quota is agreed with Kyiv.

Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov introduced the measure late Tuesday after prolonged talks with farmers who launched a nationwide protest final week over parliament’s determination to carry a ban on Ukrainian imports, citing greater meals costs.


Veselin Toshkov contributed from Sofia, Bulgaria.

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