Polish authorities have 'lost control' of relations with Ukraine says Tusk

Donald Tusk argued that government's strategy regarding present and future Polish-Ukrainian relations is based on emotions or party interests. Piotr Nowak/PAP

Donald Tusk, leader of Poland's main opposition party, the centrist Civic Platform (PO), has said that Poland's authorities, have "lost control" of the relations with Ukraine.

"The authorities in Poland have lost control," said Tusk on Tuesday during a meeting concerning a plan to stabilise Polish-Ukrainian relations. "We have the overwhelming impression that if there is any strategy at all regarding present and future Polish-Ukrainian relations, it is based on emotions or party interests."

Poland's relations with Ukraine came under stress after the Polish government implemented a ban on imports of Ukrainian grain from September 16, when the EU declined to extend its own ban. The EU said that threats to local markets in EU countries bordering Ukraine had disappeared. Warsaw's move caused a harsh reaction from Kyiv, including a complaint before the World Trade Organization.

The spat continued with politicians from both sides stepping up critical rhetoric. 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."

In Tusk's opinion, the obvious goals and interests of Poland have not changed since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. "It is clear that the victory of Ukraine is in Poland's interest," he said, adding that "this should also apply to economic and refugee issues - and here the attitude of the Polish state should not budge even an inch. 

"Support for Ukraine in its war efforts should not be a subject of discussion," he pointed out.

The assistance given and solidarity expressed by Poles towards Ukrainians in the first months of the war was "priceless capital," Tusk said. "We cannot allow good Polish-Ukrainian relations, this great capital and the future of both Ukraine and Poland to depend on the neglect and chaos created by the Polish government," concluded Tusk. 

Later on Tuesday, Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, referring to Tusk's comments, wrote on the X platform that the "co-author of a reset (in relations with Russia – PAP) now wants to arrange the relations with Ukraine", adding "not only is this impertinence – it's hyPOcracy!" (A play on words referring to Tusk's Civic Platform (PO) - PAP)

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