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Polish farmers want to ‘humiliate’ Ukraine – Zelensky aide

Mikhail Podoliak has dismissed protests against cheap grain imports as an attempt to hit his country’s “most painful point”

Polish farmers protesting near the border with Ukraine are trying to “humiliate” their neighbor and inflict as much pain as possible, President Vladimir Zelensky’s most senior adviser, Mikhail Podoliak, claimed on Wednesday. 

His comments came after hundreds of tractors gathered on the Polish-Ukrainian border this week, with farmers calling for the closure of checkpoints and a ban on importing cheap Ukrainian grain. Similar protests have regularly taken place in Poland since October 2023, when Brussels decided to allow Ukrainian haulers to enter the EU without having to obtain permits.  

Speaking to the Ukrainian TSN news channel, Podoliak dismissed the protests, insisting that the demonstrators were actually seeking to humiliate his country. 

“The Polish farmer, obviously realizing that Ukraine is an extremely difficult situation… decided: ‘Let us, in parallel with this, hit the most painful point, let’s go to the border with Ukraine and humiliate the Ukrainians’,” the adviser said. 

Podoliak also accused the Polish people of not considering Ukraine’s conflict with Russia to be “a worthy cause,” and criticized them for prioritizing their own wellbeing. 

Earlier this week, Zelensky also condemned the activists who are blocking Ukrainian grain from entering Poland. He suggested that the protests are causing an “erosion of solidarity,” claiming that the actions of the Polish farmers seemed like “outright mockery” to Ukrainian soldiers. 

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Around a thousand, mostly Ukrainian trucks wait in kilometre-long lines after Polish farmers closed off the border crossing between Poland and Ukraine, forcing Ukrainian truckers to detour to their destination through Vysne Nemecke border crossing near Michalovce, Slovakia on February 17, 2024.
Polish farmers blocking defense aid from reaching Kiev – activist

“In reality, the situation is not about grain, but rather politics,” Zelensky insisted. 

While Warsaw has officially already imposed a ban on Ukrainian grain imports, it still allows their transit through the country. Farmers, however, have argued that cheap agricultural products have nonetheless been making their way onto the Polish market. 

Farmers from Poland and a host of other European nations have pointed out that they can’t compete against cheap Ukrainian grain, because suppliers from the country don’t have to comply with EU standards and regulations, giving their products an unfair advantage.

February 22, 2024 at 06:11PM

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