Espreso. Global

Ukrainian-Polish relations

20 September, 2023 Wednesday

I will write more about this. For now, some brief reflections. We should not fall in love with anyone and be constantly disappointed. Neither in domestic politics nor in foreign policy

Politicians change like the mood in society. And politicians are part of or a reflection of different segments of their own society. This is the case in Ukraine as well. What is Ukraine for a Pole, an American, or even a Russian aggressor? Is it Kravchuk or Kuchma? Yushchenko or Yanukovych? Poroshenko or Zelenskyy?

Is America Trump or Biden? And Poland is Kaczyński and Duda or Tusk? Sometimes the improvement or deterioration of relations depends on the successes and failures of our diplomacy, and sometimes, despite all our talents, these relations depend more on the internal situation in other countries. In such situations, the role of diplomacy is even more crucial.

The democratic Polish president Komorowski hunted together with Yanukovych, irritating our pro-Ukrainian community not because he respected him, but because he cared about Poland's interests. And that is why Erdoğan, a rather authoritarian but pragmatic and talented politician, says that Putin can be trusted, communicates with him, but supports Ukraine with weapons and in other ways.

Many of our people often look at Poland the way they used to look at Russia. As if it were a big brother, a savior. Now, when we are in a conflict over the export of Ukrainian grain to Poland, such people blame the Ukrainian government for everything. I would have to support this approach as an opposition politician. I do believe that the government has made many mistakes in our relations with our Western ally. But this is not the reason for the conflict.

The reasons are in Poland and in the Polish internal political situation. Poland's decision is now wrong because it violates EU regulations and calls into question our European integration, which is beneficial not only for Ukrainians but also for Poles.

Poland's decision also affects our defense budget. After all, international financial support can only be spent on social programs. Our defense budget is formed by taxes, a significant part of which is paid by exporters.

The Polish Sejm has already shouted "Nie Pozwalam" once in history when it did not ratify the Union of Hadiach signed by Hetman Vyhovsky. How did it end for both Ukraine and Poland? It ended in a victory for Russia.

Our mistake was that neither the Ukrainian opposition nor representatives of our civil society were involved in resolving the situation in Poland. The concept of building relations only on relations between presidents is easily destroyed and turns from the strongest to the weakest.

The day before yesterday, Zelenskyy and Duda were best friends, and yesterday they canceled a meeting at the UN General Assembly.

Previously, the office had actually blocked interparliamentary cooperation and visits of parliamentarians to Poland. Now, all the responsibility for the failure of diplomacy on the Polish direction will fall solely on the president.

This is the same mistake we have already seen in the government's attitude to the results of sociological surveys. People hold the president responsible for the high level of corruption. Obviously, this concentration of power in the hands of one person not only allows him to take credit for successes, but also makes him responsible for failures.

Even the greatest person alone cannot solve the country's problems, let alone in a state of war. That is why it is now necessary to unite the government, opposition, and civil society to jointly overcome the crisis caused by aggression, rather than further strengthening the sole power and accumulating mistakes.

Any relationship between people and countries is not only about emotional affection, but also about responsible work.


About the author. Mykola Kniazhytskyi, journalist, member of the Ukrainian parliament.

The editors don't always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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