Poland facilitates transit of Ukrainian grain, PM says
Poland enables the transit of Ukrainian grain and helps its transport abroad, but will not allow destabilisation of its internal market, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said in response to Kyiv's criticism of a Polish decision to upkeep a ban on grain imports.
On April 28, the European Commission (EC) reached an agreement with Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia on restrictions on imports of Ukrainian agri-food products, and on May 2 it announced the adoption of a temporary ban regarding imports of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds from Ukraine. Last month, it prolonged the ban until September 15.
On Wednesday, Morawiecki said that Poland will not open its borders to Ukrainian grain even if the EU does not agree to extend the ban. His declaration follows an agreement struck earlier on Wednesday by the agriculture ministers of five 'frontline' EU member states - Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania - all bordering Ukraine. The ministers signed a joint position on extending the ban on the import of four types of grain from Ukraine until the end of 2023.
On Thursday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal commented on Poland's decision on Twitter.
"During this critical time, Poland intends to continue blocking the export of Ukrainian grain to the EU. This is an unfriendly and populist move that will severely impact global food security and Ukraine's economy," he wrote.
"We call on our partners and the EU commission to ensure unhindered exports of all Ukrainian food products to the EU. This is an act of solidarity not only with Ukraine but with the world, which relies on our grain," Shmyhal added.
Later on Thursday, Morawiecki told a press conference that the Prime Minister of Ukraine "does not quite correctly" read the intentions of the Polish government. "We have agreed to transit, and there is no problem with transit. Not only will Poland not contribute to destabilisation on global markets, but we actually help export Ukrainian grain abroad," he said.