Poland Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has announced the country’s decision to halt the weapons supply to Ukraine.

The rift between Poland and Ukraine deepened after President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent address to the United Nations. President Zelensky criticised the solidarity of some nations with Ukraine during the ongoing conflict as ‘feigned’. Poland, a long-time supporter of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and security, took exception to Zelensky’s remarks. Poland viewed the remarks as unjustified given their support since the beginning of the conflict.

The dispute stems from Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which disrupted the main Black Sea shipping lanes—a vital trade route for Ukrainian grain exports. Forced to seek alternative overland routes for grain exports, Ukraine began diverting significant quantities of grain towards central Europe.

This diversion of grain from Ukraine affected the neighbouring nations, including Poland. The surplus grain flooding into central Europe raised concerns among local farmers, who feared that Ukrainian grain was driving down local grain prices. In response to these concerns, the European Union (EU) temporarily banned grain imports into five countries: Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.

EU lifted the ban on 15 September officially.

However, Eastern Europe, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia have chosen to extend the grain import ban independently.

Ukraine has responded to the continued grain import bans by filing lawsuits with the World Trade Organisation (WTO), alleging that the actions of Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland violate international trade obligations. Ukraine’s Economy Minister, Yulia Svyrydenko, has stressed the significance of establishing that individual EU member states have no independent authority to ban imports of Ukrainian goods.

Poland, in particular, has remained resolute in its decision to maintain the grain import ban, asserting that the WTO complaint does not affect its stance. While maintaining the ban, the three countries—Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland—have stated that they will still allow the transportation of Ukrainian grain through their territories to other markets. This compromise aims to mitigate the impact on Ukrainian exporters while upholding the grain import ban.

French Foreign Minister Catherina Colonna noted that an EU study found that Ukrainian grain imports would not significantly harm European farmers. Colonna expressed regret over the escalating tensions and urged a diplomatic resolution.

Prime Minister Morawiecki maintained that Poland would shift its focus towards acquiring modern weapons for its own defence.

Poland has extended a range of weapons supply support to Ukraine, including urging Germany to supply Leopard 2 battle tanks, committing fighter jets, and offering refuge to a substantial number of Ukrainian refugees.