Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stepped in to call for restraint late Tuesday in an effort to end an escalating diplomatic spat with Ukrainian ally Poland.
Earlier on Tuesday, Kyiv had summoned Warsaw’s envoy after a senior Polish official suggested Ukraine should be more grateful for the support it has been receiving from Poland since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion last year.
“We greatly appreciate the historical support of Poland, which together with us has become a real shield of Europe from sea to sea. And there cannot be a single crack in this shield,” Zelenskyy said.
“We will not allow any political instants to spoil the relations between the Ukrainian and Polish peoples, and emotions should definitely cool down,” the president added.
Poland has been one of Kyiv’s most vocal supporters since Moscow’s aggression ramped up in 2022. But in recent months, its relations with Kyiv have been hurt by Warsaw’s decision to extend a ban on some Ukrainian agricultural exports, which the Polish government considers a threat to the interests of domestic farmers.
Initially focused on grain, the dispute is now shifting to soft fruit such as raspberries and currants, with Poland’s farmers — who are set to be a key constituency in the upcoming Polish general elections in October — complaining that lower-priced imports from Ukraine are undercutting them.
The brewing contretemps escalated Tuesday after Ukraine summoned the Polish ambassador to Kyiv over “unacceptable” comments made by a senior Polish official.
In an interview with Polish media, Marcin Przydacz, head of Poland’s international policy office, said Kyiv should “start appreciating the role Poland has played for Ukraine in recent months and years” — sparking ire from Ukrainian officials who hauled in Warsaw’s ambassador and prompting Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki then to slap Kyiv down.
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“The summoning of the Polish ambassador — a representative of the country that was the only one left in Kyiv on the day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — to the Ukrainian foreign ministry should never have happened,” Morawiecki said.
“Given the enormity of the support Poland has given Ukraine, such mistakes should not happen,” the prime minister added.