The prime minister of Poland announced they will no longer be sending weapons to Ukraine after an ongoing trade dispute and “far right” political pressure, AP News reports.
Prime Minister Mateusz Moraweicki said the country is “no longer transferring any weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming ourselves with the most modern weapons” on Wednesday. This comes as Poland is working to strengthen the appearance of their military amid fears that Russia will turn on them due to their support of their neighboring nation.
Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller elaborated that “a series of absolutely unacceptable statements and diplomatic gestures appeared on the Ukrainian side” and that they would only be providing minimum supplies that were previously agreed upon.
Former Prime Minister and vocal liberal Donald Tusk accused Moraweicki of a “moral and geopolitical scandal of stabbing Ukraine in the back politically when they decide to fight on the Ukrainian front, just because it will be profitable for their campaign.”
Michal Baranowski, a leading defense expert, stated that “The message is very bad, both for Poland’s reputation but also because Poland has been one of the chief advocates of military aid to Ukraine. Saying Poland will not be sending more weapons means that Poland can no longer play this role.”
White House security adviser Jake Sullivan, however, believes that “Poland will continue to be a supporter of Ukraine.”
In a briefing, he stated, “When I read the headlines this morning, I was of course concerned and had questions, but I’ve subsequently seen the Polish government spokesman come out to clarify that in fact Poland’s provision of equipment, including things like Polish-manufactured Howitzers, is continuing and that Poland continues to stand behind Ukraine.”
Poland had previously armed Ukraine with state-of-the-art weaponry including MiG-29 fighter jets and Leopard 2 tanks. They also provided training to Ukrainian military officials on how to operate these.
There has been ongoing criticism from Polish conservatives that Ukraine has shown a lack of gratitude for their support with both arms and accommodation of Ukrainian refugees.
The trade dispute in question involves a ban on Ukrainian grain imports, with Poland, Hungary and Slovakia intending to protect their local farmers. At the UN General Assembly Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused those who were opposing his grain of working on Russia’s behalf, to which a Polish ambassador quickly issued a complaint.
The dispute comes amid a failing Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russia. Zelensky is in DC this week to plead with Congress for an additional $24 billion in funding and long-range missiles which he, along with the Biden admin, insists will allow Ukraine to succeed.