Poland’s PM to Zelensky after ‘political theater’ UN remarks: Never ‘insult Poles again’

Poland Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to never “insult Poles again” after he suggested its neighboring country was putting on “political theater” over grain export disputes. 

Zelensky made blanketed statements at the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week, claiming “some of our friends in Europe” have “made a thriller from the grain.” At a rally on Friday in Swidnik, Morawiecki hit back. 

“I want to tell President Zelensky never to insult Poles again, as he did recently during his speech at the U.N.” Morawiecki said. “The Polish people will never allow this to happen, and defending the good name of Poland is not only my duty and honor, but also the most important task of the Polish government.”

Poland has stood as a close ally since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the dispute has pushed the relationship to its lowest point since the beginning of the war. 

Several nations in the European Nation have halted Ukrainian grain imports. In an effort to protect local farmers, the ban means Ukrainian grain would not be allowed to enter the markets of several EU countries, causing tension to escalate between the two leaders.

The EU said it was going to suspend the ban last week but Poland, Hungary and Slovakia said they would stick with it. The move sparked protests from Ukraine ahead of Zelensky’s U.N. speech, including lawsuits.

The grain spat caused Polish President Andrzej Duda to compare Ukraine’s fight for survival against Russia to that of a “drowning person,” bringing down those who try to help. 

Morawiecki followed up, saying the country would no longer be supplying weapons to Ukraine. 

Zelensky arrived in the United States this week for his second wartime visit. He joined President Biden at the White House and visited Congress.

The Ukrainian president also made an appeal to Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who is struggling to pass a budget — that includes additional aid for Ukraine — before a looming government shutdown deadline.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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