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US demands clarity from Poland over Ukrainian military aid – media

ByPimpHesus

Sep 24, 2023

Warsaw’s stance on military assistance to Kiev remains unclear amid ambiguous statements by Polish officials, Bloomberg says

Washington wants Warsaw to clarify its stance on further arms deliveries to Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing a senior US defense official. Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that his nation would stop supplying weapons to Kiev and would focus on strengthening its own armed forces instead.

According to the US official, Poland said it remained committed to supporting Ukraine, but its exact stance remains unclear. The two neighbors are currently engaged in a row over Ukrainian grain exports that Warsaw claimed were destabilizing its own agricultural market. 

The US still believes that the disagreements between Warsaw and Kiev have not yet reached the point where they can threaten the “unity” of the Western coalition of Ukraine’s backers, Bloomberg reported, adding that military support for Kiev “would likely take stretch into multiple years.”

A European diplomat also told Bloomberg that Polish diplomats had privately assured foreign counterparts that Warsaw’s military support for Ukraine would continue, although on a smaller scale. The source also admitted that losing Poland’s support entirely would risk “undermining NATO unity.”

Warsaw has been sending mixed signals on the issue over the past few days. On Thursday, Morawiecki stated that Poland would no longer send arms to Kiev and would seek to acquire modern weapons for its own troops instead. He also said that Kiev does not understand “the degree to which Poland’s farming industry has been destabilized” by imports.

Later, the Polish government sought to backtrack on the prime minister’s words by stating on the same day that it would continue to send military supplies to Kiev in accordance with the existing agreements. 

On Friday, President Andrzej Duda weighed in on the issue by saying that Morawiecki’s remarks from the previous day had been “interpreted in the worst way possible.” He also said that his nation would essentially supply its neighbor with some older weapons it does not need. Warsaw would not transfer the weapons needed to modernize the Polish Army but could send decommissioned weapons to Ukraine instead, he said at the time. 

Separately, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said on Friday that his nation was forced to “pay the bill twice” as it provided military assistance to Kiev and had to suffer from “unfair economic competition” on the part of Kiev when it comes to grain exports. 

Poland, along with Hungary and Slovakia, had previously decided to go against the EU’s decision to lift the embargo on Ukrainian grain. Warsaw explained the unilateral move by stating it was protecting its farmers.

Kiev blasted the decision by calling it “illegal” and vowing to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO).