Tensions between Ukraine and Poland: what’s the deal?
Relations between Poland and Ukraine have become markedly closer since the beginning of the Ukraine war. But now Poland wants to unilaterally extend the import restrictions on Ukrainian grain which are in effect until September. After Marcin Przydacz, Polish President Andrzej Duda’s foreign policy secretary, commented last week that Kyiv should show more gratitude for Poland’s support, the Polish ambassador was summoned by Kyiv.
PiS jeopardising valuable connections
Krytyka Polityczna has harsh words for the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party:
“It was foreseeable that sooner or later the Poles would tire of helping the Ukrainians. ... But the government has no ready responses to counter the growing impatience, even though it could talk about how quickly Ukrainian women have found their way into the Polish labour market and how this is boosting Poland’s economic growth. It could remind us of the civil courage of Poles in the face of a bloody war and show how this attitude has improved our image in Europe and the world. ... The government makes no reference to the fact that Ukraine is also fighting for our security. ... It has only words of contempt and coercion at the ready.”
More at stake than elections and grain exports
In Ukrayinska Pravda, Maria Solkina of the London School of Economics calls for a little more tact in communication with Poland:
“While the Ukrainian side is outraged by the politicisation of the grain issue in Poland, the Polish side also has questions about Kyiv’s approach. So far these concerns have mostly been voiced off the record, but that is all the better for us: there is still a chance to prevent these concerns from becoming real problems. ... If Ukraine considers Poland a strategic partner, this should be taken into account in communication. ... Caution and a reduction of tensions on both sides are more than called for. There is far more at stake here than just the impact of the Polish elections on Ukrainian grain exports.”
Skirmishes serve certain interests
Polityka sees Ukraine’s reaction as appropriate:
“By threatening to extend the embargo in defiance of the European Commission’s announced decision to lift it — and against Kyiv’s position — the Kaczyński camp is pursuing its electoral agenda but not necessarily national interests. ... The Ukrainian reaction seems more calm and mature than that of the PiS politicians. Diplomatic skirmishes serve neither Poland nor Ukraine, but only interest groups ready to play the nationalist card. Poland should support the efforts of the EU and Western diplomacy to lift the blockade on Ukrainian grain exports.”