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Poland halts sending arms to Ukraine as trade dispute escalates

POLAND’S prime minister said on Wednesday his country is no longer sending arms to Ukraine as a trade dispute between the neighbouring states escalates.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in an interview late on Wednesday that Poland is no longer transferring weapons to Ukraine. 

The comments came as his ruling Law and Justice party faces pressure from a far-right party in a national election on October 15. 

The far-right party, Confederation, says Poland is not getting the gratitude it deserves for arming Ukraine and accepting its refugees.

In an interview with television broadcaster Polstat, Mr Morawiecki said: “We are no longer transferring any weapons to Ukraine because now we will arm ourselves with the most modern weapons.” 

Poland has supplied Ukraine with a wide range of weaponry, including Leopard 2 tanks and Soviet-era MiG fighter jets.

Emotions have been running high after Poland, Hungary and Slovakia last week announced a new ban on Ukrainian grain imports, saying they wanted to protect their farmers from a glut of Ukrainian grain in their markets. 

Kiev responded with a complaint at the World Trade Organisation against the three countries — prompting an even angrier response from Poland.

Ukraine was lifting its complaint against Slovakia as the two sides sought a resolution, Slovak authorities said yesterday.

At the United Nations on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky suggested that the countries opposing Ukraine on grain were in fact working on Russia’s behalf. 

Poland urgently summoned the Ukrainian ambassador to complain the following day.

Earlier on Wednesday at the UN security council, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov slammed the role of the United States in Ukraine, saying that “since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of independent states in its place, the US and its allies have blatantly and openly interfered in Ukraine’s internal affairs.” 

He added that the US and its allies were “directly responsible for the disintegration of Ukraine and the incitement of a civil war there.” Russia supported the separatist movement in the Donbass from 2014, with the breakaway regions since annexed to Russia itself.

Mr Lavrov played on Western hypocrisy, saying the US and other Western leaders never stop talking about the territorial integrity of Ukraine,  but were “silent on the UN decision calling on Paris to return the so-called French Mayotte territory to the Union of the Comoros Islands [or] for London to abandon the Chagos archipelago and to start negotiations with Buenos Aires on the Falkland Islands.”

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