Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky not to “insult Poles again” after he suggested the neighboring country was engaging in “political theatre” over grain export disputes.
Zelensky made sweeping remarks at the UN General Assembly earlier this week, claiming that “some of our friends in Europe” had “made a sensationalist story out of pills.” At a rally on Friday in Swednik, Morawiecki responded.
“I want to tell President Zelensky never to insult Poles again, as he recently did during his speech at the United Nations,” Morawiecki said. He added: “The Polish people will never allow this to happen, and defending the good reputation of Poland is not only my duty and honor, but also the most important task of the Polish government.”
Poland has remained a close ally since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the dispute has pushed the relationship to its lowest levels since the beginning of the war.
Several EU countries have halted imports of Ukrainian grain. In an attempt to protect local farmers, the ban means that Ukrainian grain will not be allowed to enter the markets of several EU countries, causing tensions to rise between the two leaders.
The European Union said it would suspend the ban last week, but Poland, Hungary and Slovakia said they would stick to it. The move sparked protests from Ukraine ahead of Zelensky’s speech at the United Nations, including lawsuits.
The grain dispute prompted Polish President Andrzej Duda to liken Ukraine’s struggle for survival against Russia to the struggle of a “drowning person”, who brings down anyone who tries to help.
Morawiecki continued, saying that his country will no longer supply weapons to Ukraine.
Zelensky arrived in the United States this week for his second wartime visit. He joined President Biden at the White House and visited Congress.
The Ukrainian president also made an appeal to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who is struggling to pass the budget — which includes additional aid for Ukraine — before the looming deadline for a government shutdown.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.
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