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Poland wants US to ‘cool down’ Ukrainians – deputy FM

Warsaw is hoping for Washington to intervene in the grain dispute with Kiev, according to Arkadiusz Mularczyk

Washington should intervene in the ongoing diplomatic row between Warsaw and Kiev over Ukrainian grain, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk said in an interview with the RMF24 radio station on Friday.

“I hope that these unfortunate statements by Ukrainian politicians will end and the grain dispute will end,” he told the station, adding that “the participation of the United States would cool down hot Ukrainian heads.”

The official stressed that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and other officials in his government are “behaving absolutely unfairly towards Poland” and that Warsaw will not let such insults stand after the support it provided to Kiev throughout the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “Poland didn’t deserve this,” he said.

The deputy foreign minister insisted that all misunderstandings between Warsaw and Kiev must be immediately resolved, noting that the grain dispute serves neither Poland nor Ukraine and only distracts from their “common cause of defeating Russia.” 

Mularczyk also spoke about the EU’s efforts to help resolve the dispute and slammed European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s demands that Poland lift its embargo on Ukrainian grain. 

“Thank you for such help, where Poland is ordered over our heads to open its Polish borders to Ukrainian grain, the aim of which is to finish off Polish agriculture and Polish farmers. Mrs. von der Leyen is not the president or prime minister of Poland, and these matters are decided in Poland, not in Brussels,” he said.

Mularczyk’s comments come after the European Commission decided last week not to extend restrictions on importing Ukrainian grain to the EU. This move, however, prompted Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia to place unilateral bans on Kiev’s produce, arguing that the influx of cheap Ukrainian grain would harm their farmers and destabilize the agricultural market.

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In turn, Kiev called the unilateral embargoes “illegal” and filed complaints with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the three countries while also vowing to ban the import of fruits and vegetables from Poland.

In Friday’s interview, Mularczyk also claimed that the dispute stems from Ukrainian oligarchs’ interests. “For these large, global farms and oligarchs in Ukraine, it is best to sell grain to Poland because it is the cheapest transport, the closest to a large market, and it is the most convenient for them.” 

The official reiterated that Poland remains open for transit and that this grain can freely go to France, Germany, and Spain but will not be allowed to reach Poland and “eliminate Polish agriculture.”

September 22, 2023 at 05:00PM

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