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24 Feb, 2024 01:38

Ukraine makes threat to EU member state

Kiev could enact reciprocal measures if Polish farmers continue their blockades at the border, the prime minister has said
Ukraine makes threat to EU member state

Kiev reserves the right to retaliate against Poland if it does not convince protesting farmers to stop blocking the border crossings, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal said on Friday.

The Polish farmers accuse both Kiev and Warsaw of threatening their livelihood by allowing imports of cheap Ukrainian grain and other agricultural products.

“The issue of the blocking of the border must be resolved way before March 28 – the date when the governments of Ukraine and Poland are due to hold a joint session,” Shmigal wrote on Telegram. “If this doesn’t happen, Ukraine will reserve the right to enact reciprocal measures regarding the points of entry.”

Poland is one of Ukraine’s most vocal backers in Europe and has supplied Kiev with multiple weapons systems, including tanks and self-propelled howitzers. The fight over grain has caused a significant rift between the neighbors, with Polish President Andrzej Duda accusing Ukraine last fall of “flooding” his country with cheap produce.

Shmigal said Polish officials ignored an invitation to meet in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. “The president of Ukraine had proposed this venue to negotiate and reach a compromise – here, at the border, as equal partners and allies,” the prime minister wrote on social media on Friday. “But, unfortunately, such a meeting with Polish officials did not take place today.” 

He added that his country has not sold grain in Poland for the past five months, and that Ukrainian businessmen are only using Polish territory to deliver the goods to other countries. The prime minister reiterated that the blockade “poses a threat to the national security of Ukraine.”

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s chief of staff, Jan Grabiec, told AFP that no delegation was sent to Lviv because the meeting “makes no sense at the moment.” He added that the sides are far from reaching a deal.

“Unfortunately, there is not yet a Ukrainian proposition that allows hope for an end to the deadlock in commercial relations,” Grabiec said.

Tusk told reporters on Thursday that Poland will continue to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia. “However, we should also protect Polish farmers and the Polish market against the negative consequences of opening the borders for agricultural products,” he added.