The Polish government today adopted a resolution banning the import of grain and a large number of other foodstuffs from Ukraine, according to Ukrinform.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) and Deputy Prime Minister of Poland, said this at a party congress in the settlement of Lyse in northeastern Poland.
"Today, the government adopted a resolution prohibiting the import [from Ukraine] of grain into Poland, as well as dozens of other types of food products. I am unable to list them all. They are provided for in the appendix to this resolution - from declared grain to honey products, a lot of products," Kaczynski, considered the 'power behind the throne' of Polish politics by some, said.
Ukraine, one of the world's largest grain exporters, has had its Black Sea ports largely blocked due to the Russian invasion and has been shipping through EU member states, such as Poland and Romania.
However, logistical bottlenecks mean that large amounts of Ukrainian grain have ended up in central European countries, and have pushed down prices, putting pressure on their domestic agricultural sectors. This includes farmers’ protests in Poland.
Rural areas have traditionally been a key source of support for PiS, and the farmers’ protests over the last year have been a major worry for the ruling party ahead the autumn general election.
This is particular as Konfederacija, a party to the right of the ruling PiS, appears from polling to be gaining popular support with its more isolationist politics.
Ukraine’s ministry of agrarian policy responded on Saturday that it "regrets the decision of its Polish counterparts".
"Polish farmers are facing a difficult situation, but we emphasise that Ukrainian farmers are facing the most difficult situation" given the war, it added.
The ministry proposed for the two countries to strike a new agreement in the coming days that would satisfy both sides.
Following Poland's announcement, in a similar announcement, Hungarian Agriculture Minister Istvan Nagy made a Facebook post that Hungary too was banning the import of Ukrainian agriculturall products.
It has been reported that both the Polish and Hungarian bans will last until June 30.
On the day of President Zelensky’s recent visit to Poland, the Polish agriculture minister resigned from office to diffuse tensions among Polish farmers.
During that visit, Zelensky said that “we had found a way out” of the grain situation, and the two governments appeared to have agreed to a temporary suspension of grain into Poland.
At the time, President Duda of Poland said: “We hope that the physical border between our two countries will be erased and our citizens will be able to move around forgetting that this border ever existed. I have no doubt that this will be the case one day.”
It was noted that, while Zelensky was ordered Poland’s highest honor, the White Eagle, during the visit, he did not have a direct meeting with Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Formerly a Prime Minister and now Deputy Prime Minister and party leader, Kaczynski is described by some as the most powerful politician in Poland.
Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine’s economy has contracted by some 30 per cent after rising by around 3.5 per cent in the year before the invasion.
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