Poland has entered 'downturn' in relations with Ukraine says FM
The Polish foreign minister has said that his absence at an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Kyiv results from a "downturn" in relations between Poland and Ukraine.
EU foreign ministers met in Kyiv on Monday to discuss support for Ukraine fighting Russia's aggression and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's 10-point peace formula.
Poland is represented at the meeting by Wojciech Gerwel, a deputy foreign minister.
Asked by the private TV broadcaster Polsat News on Monday why he was not attending the talks in Kyiv, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau replied that "indeed, it is an important meeting," but said he had to remain in Warsaw for "many reasons, including health reasons."
But, Rau added, "above all, it results from the fact that in politics, also bilateral, we have periods of booms and busts between various countries."
"Currently, as regards relations between Poland and Ukraine, we are entering a period of downturn and my absence is partly an expression of this," he said.
Polsat News asked Rau whether his absence at the meeting in Kyiv was retaliation for President Zelensky's words at the UN General Assembly that some EU countries feigned solidarity while indirectly supporting Russia.
"I wouldn't call it retaliation, but three dimensions are important in relations between countries", Rau replied explaining that he meant common interests, current national interests, which now are divergent, and public support.
Polish-Ukrainian relations came under strain in mid-September when Poland decided to uphold an embargo on some Ukrainian agri-products due to concerns that a glut of imports from its eastern neighbour could damage Polish farming.
The move angered Ukraine, which responded with a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky made an allusion during his speech at the UN that Poland and a handful of other EU countries in a bid to protect their own markets, in fact, supported Russia. This triggered a strong reaction from Poland which ended in the Ukrainian ambassador being summoned to the Polish foreign ministry and Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, warning Zelensky "not to insult the Polish people."