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Poland threatens further import bans, summons Ukrainian ambassador over grain dispute

by Martin Fornusek September 20, 2023 4:43 PM 2 min read
Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland's prime minister, speaks during a a joint news conference with Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Friday, June 2, 2023. (Photo: Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warned that Warsaw may expand the list of banned Ukrainian goods if Kyiv imposes its own import embargo on certain Polish food products, the Polish Press Agency (PAP) reported on Sept. 20.

This is only the latest move in the ongoing dispute between the two countries, sparked by Poland's decision to extend the import ban on Ukrainian grain products past its expiration date set by the EU on Sept. 15.

The EU instituted the measure in May at the request of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria, who feared that the influx of cheaper Ukrainian products would put pressure on their farmers.

In response to Poland's decision, Kyiv said it would sue Warsaw in the World Trade Organization and also threatened to introduce an embargo on onions, tomatoes, cabbage, and apples from Poland.

The disagreement has strained Ukraine's relationship with Poland, traditionally one of its most ardent supporters in the face of Russian aggression.

During his speech at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called out the "alarming" behavior of Ukraine's partners regarding the grain import bans.

While not naming specific countries, the statement came shortly after Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia said they would prolong the import restrictions.

In protest to Zelensky's statement at the U.N. headquarters, the Polish government also summoned Ukraine's Ambassador to Poland Vasyl Zvarych, PAP reported.

Previously, the two countries summoned each other's ambassadors in a diplomatic dispute during the summer, after a Polish official said that Ukraine should be more grateful for the aid it is receiving.

Zelensky at UN: Russia’s aggression poses threat beyond Ukraine
President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 19 that Russia’s war against Ukraine poses a threat to global security as the Kremlin weaponizes energy and food against nations across the world.
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