Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said Ukraine made a major error by summoning Warsaw’s envoy over remarks from a high-level presidential staffer, who suggested Kiev should be more grateful for the vast sums of foreign aid it has received.

Responding in a tweet on Tuesday, Morawiecki said the decision to summon the Polish ambassador “should never have taken place,” noting that his country has backed Ukraine since the conflict with Russia erupted last year.

“In international politics, in the face of the ongoing war, and taking into account the enormous support that Poland has given Ukraine, such mistakes should not happen,” the prime minister said.

“We will always defend Poland’s good name, its security, and the interest of no other country will ever prevail over the interest of the Republic of Poland.”

The prime minister’s rebuttal came just hours after the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry summoned Polish ambassador to Kiev, Bartosz Cichocki, to discuss recent statements by the head of the international policy bureau within the Polish presidential administration, Marcin Przydacz.

Speaking to Polish broadcaster TVP, Przydacz defended the Polish ban on Ukrainian grain imports, arguing “it would be fitting for Ukraine to start appreciating the role Poland has played for Ukraine over the recent months and years.”

The Ukrainian government reacted negatively to the comments, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko saying, “the statements about the alleged ingratitude of the Ukrainians for the assistance of the Republic of Poland do not reflect reality and as such are unacceptable.”

The deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s administration, Andrey Sibiga, also condemned the “unfounded claims” that Kiev does not appreciate its neighbor’s help.

Polish Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski rejected the criticisms from Kiev, insisting his country’s policies are guided by Polish interests, while stressing the large amounts of assistance given to Ukraine over the last year.

With the EU slashing quotas and tariffs on Ukrainian agricultural exports to bolster the country’s economy earlier in the conflict with Moscow, cheap grain has spilled into the EU’s common market, prompting protests from farmers in Eastern Europe. Five members of the bloc, including Poland, initially ramped up their own restrictions on Ukrainian grain, though the EU as a whole later followed suit with a formal ban.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has urged Brussels to lift the restrictions by September 15, calling the policy “un-European,” while Prime Minister Denis Shmigal also singled out Poland’s position as “unfriendly and populist.”