Poland will no longer supply arms to Ukraine amid its ongoing conflict with Russia.
Since the onset of the conflict in February of 2022, Poland has been a vocal ally of Ukraine and one of its top major arms suppliers.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the media on Sept. 20 that his country will dial back its involvement in arming Ukraine and will “no longer [be] transferring weaponry.”
“We will now arm ourselves with the most modern weapons,” he said. He made a point of reiterating his commitment to helping Ukraine defeat the “Russian barbarian.”
“Poland’s military hardware has been depleted by about a third through transfers to Ukraine and Warsaw is in the process of replacing it with modern Western-produced kit,” per the BBC. Poland has sent tanks and Mig-29 fighter jets from the Soviet era, to which Ukrainian forces were accustomed.
Polish Ambassador to the U.S. Marek Magierowski wrote on X that “over the last 17 months we have basically gutted our military for the sake of Ukraine’s war effort.”
“Poland is now striving to make up for the depletion of our own capabilities,” he wrote in the thread. “Lecturing a country which for years had been warning European allies about Russia’s growing aggressiveness, which has stood by Ukraine from the very beginning of the war, which has supplied [Ukraine] with hundreds of tanks, with aircraft, howitzers, tons of ammo, is outrageous.”
Poland has been one of the top 10 aid contributors to Ukraine over the last 18 months. Between Jan. 24, 2022 and July 31, 2023, approximately 0.7% of Poland’s GDP has been committed to bilateral aid while 2.5% has been used to cover the costs incurred while supporting Ukrainian refugees, according to the Institute for the World Economy.
“The decision is a major blow to Ukraine, which has relied on Western support for arms deliveries to stay in the fight against Russian forces and has worked hard to maintain that support,” reports The Hill. “If the Polish support remains frozen, it would be a big victory for Moscow. Part of Russia’s strategy is to stay in the fight long enough to entrench themselves in eastern Ukraine and hope that Western support cracks over time.”
Morawiecki’s announcement follows a speech made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the United Nations General Assembly where he suggested Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary were aiding Russia amid disputes over European grain imports.
The European Union temporarily banned imports of Ukrainian grain, which had flooded the market amid shipping conflicts with Russia. The bans were intended to protect local farmers and prevent grain prices from plummeting. Poland and the four other countries opted to keep the import bans in place after the EU-imposed expiration date, to Zelenskyy’s discontentment.
“In this case, Polish interests come first,” said State Assets Minister Jacek Sasin when asked by reporters about Morawiecki’s decision, per NBC News. “We cannot disarm the Polish army, we cannot get rid of the weapons that are necessary for our security.”
“Where we could arrange for the transfer of weapons, we did it and we were very generous in this matter… here we have absolutely nothing to reproach ourselves with,” he said.
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