Espreso. Global

Duda misses meeting with Zelenskyy in New York, addresses grain controversy

20 September, 2023 Wednesday
10:35

President Andrzej Duda criticized Ukraine's actions regarding the Polish embargo on Ukrainian grain and said that he and his government would protect the interests of Polish farmers

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Polskie Radio reported the information.

"We have to act to protect ourselves from the harm caused by a drowning man. Because if the drowning man causes harm and drowns us as well, he himself will not receive help," Duda told reporters in New York, where he arrived at the UN General Assembly.

Duda said that he and his government would firmly defend the interests of Polish farmers, and during the press conference, he criticized Ukraine's actions and called for Ukraine to remember the aid it receives from Poland.

He compared Ukraine's actions to those of a drowning man clutching at a straw, "Ukraine is under attack from Russia and is in a very difficult situation. It is grabbing everything it can. Can you blame it for this? Well, of course, you can complain. Should we act to protect ourselves from harm from a drowning man? Of course, we must act to prevent the drowning man from harming us, because if he drowns us, there will be no help for him."

Poland has not closed its borders to Ukrainian grain but has established transport corridors that it has agreed with Ukraine on, and thanks to this twice as much grain is now being transported through Poland as in February or March of this year, Duda emphasized.

According to Wprost.pl, Andrzej Duda also said that the meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which was to take place in New York, was canceled.

"Our meeting did not take place. The agenda of the meeting has changed significantly. The meeting was supposed to take place at 11:30 am, during my speech. Everyone here has their own very strict daily routine. Perhaps this meeting can be held later," Duda said in a statement.

Some details regarding the ban on Ukraine grain imports

On February 2, Polish farmers began blocking checkpoints on the border with Ukraine. They were outraged that the uncontrolled inflow of Ukrainian grain to Poland had caused prices for their products to plummet. Local farmers argue that Ukrainian grain should have been transported through Poland only to ports, but it ended up on the Polish market. 

On February 16 and 17, Polish farmers resumed protests on the border with Ukraine.

On March 29, Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki said that Poland promised to introduce rules that would limit the inflow of Ukrainian grain to the country, explaining that it could destabilize the import market.

On April 7, Ukraine agreed to stop exporting grain to Poland, and on April 15, the country approved a ban on the import of Ukrainian grain and other food products to Poland.

Later, оn April 15, Poland approved a ban on the import of Ukrainian grain and other food products to Poland. The government emphasized that this decision does not change the country's position on support and friendship with Ukraine.

On the same day, a spokesman for the European Commission said that unilateral actions by EU member states on trade were unacceptable.

On April 18, it became known that Poland would receive EUR 30 million in aid from the EU amid the crisis with Ukrainian grain. 

On May 12, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary called on the European Commission to extend the embargo on agricultural products from Ukraine until the end of the year.

On August 24, it was revealed that Hungary requested an extension of the EU's ban on Ukrainian grain imports.

Following this, Poland's Minister of Agriculture, Robert Telus, stated that Poland would also urge the European Union to extend the ban on Ukrainian grain imports. If the EU refuses, Poland would consider implementing its own restrictions. He noted that Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary had similar intentions.

In response, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its disapproval of the plans by Slovakia, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Hungary to prolong the ban on Ukrainian grain imports until the end of 2023, deeming the actions of these five EU countries as unacceptable.

On Friday, September 15, the European Commission decided not to extend the ban on Ukrainian grain exports to the EU: Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia announced that they would extend the embargo unilaterally.

On the same day, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal noted that the EU's decision would not only help Ukrainian exports and the economy in the face of the blockade of Black Sea ports, but would also contribute to global food security. He called on individual EU member states to refrain from unlawful unilateral restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural products.

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