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27 Sep, 2023 13:06

Warsaw mayor blasts Zelensky

Rafal Trzaskowski criticized “exaggerated” claims the Ukrainian leader made from the UN podium
Warsaw mayor blasts Zelensky

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s recent comments suggesting a lack of solidarity on the part of Poland were out of line, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski has stated. Ukraine and Poland, one of Kiev's staunchest allies, have been locked in a bitter row over cheap Ukrainian grain flooding the EU country.

In an interview with the privately-owned Polish broadcaster, Polsat, published on Monday, Trzaskowski characterized the Ukrainian president’s speech at the UN General Assembly in New York last Tuesday was a “very sad situation.” He added that “of course, Zelensky exaggerated,” and was “carried away” in his thinly veiled criticism of Poland.

However, the mayor, who is a member of the Civic Platform party, which is in opposition to the ruling Law and Justice party, also lashed out at the way the Polish government has handled the feud. Trzaskowski argued that the issue should have been dealt with quietly but believes the government chose the path of public escalation in the hope of gaining more votes ahead of next month’s parliamentary election.

Addressing his supporters in the city of Swidnik last Friday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki cautioned Zelensky against ever insulting “Poles again, as he did recently during his speech at the UN.

The Ukrainian head of state claimed during his UN speech that “some of our friends in Europe play out solidarity in a political theater, turning the issue of grain into a thriller.

Warsaw was quick to react to the remark by summoning the Ukrainian ambassador.

Relations between the two countries soured after Warsaw refused to lift its ban on Ukrainian grain, citing the need to protect its own farmers from the influx of cheap produce from its neighbor. Kiev, in turn, lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization, insisting that the restrictions imposed by Poland were illegal.

The rift saw Morawiecki declare earlier this month that Warsaw was “no longer transferring weapons to Ukraine.” The country’s president, Andrzej Duda, later toned down the message, saying that Kiev can still count on receiving obsolete weapons from Polish stocks.