Ukraine Loses Arms Supplier

Facing campaign pressure, Poland's prime minister says no more weapons will be shipped
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 21, 2023 4:20 PM CDT
Poland Says It's Not Sending More Weapons to Ukraine
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, right, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attend a press conference in Warsaw in April.   (AP Photo/Michal Dyjuk, File)

Poland's prime minister said his country is no longer sending arms to Ukraine, a comment that appeared aimed at pressuring Kyiv and put Poland's status as a major source of military equipment in doubt as a trade dispute between the neighboring states escalates. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in an interview late Wednesday that Poland is not shipping weapons to Ukraine. His populist party faces pressure from a far-right party in a national election on Oct. 15. The far-right party, Confederation, says Poland is not getting the gratitude it deserves for arming Ukraine and accepting its refugees, the AP reports.

"We are no longer transferring any weapons to Ukraine because now we will arm ourselves with the most modern weapons," Morawiecki said in an interview on Polsat, a private television broadcaster. The prime minister then spoke of a military modernization plan underway, spurred by fears of Russian aggression in the region. A government spokesman appeared to confirm Thursday that Warsaw would not agree to more military aid. He said the country was now only providing supplies of ammunition and armaments that had previously been agreed to, noting that "a series of absolutely unacceptable statements and diplomatic gestures appeared on the Ukrainian side." Poland has supplied a range of weaponry, per the AP, including Leopard 2 tanks and Soviet-era MiG fighter jets.

A leading security and defense expert, Michal Baranowski, said Poland gave most of what it could give earlier in the war, and with no plans for shipments of major equipment soon, he doesn't see a threat to Ukraine's capabilities in the near term. Still, he considers the comments troubling for Ukraine as its seeks to maintain Western support in the war unleashed by Russia. "The message is very bad, both for Poland's reputation but also because Poland has been one of the chief advocates of military aid to Ukraine," said Baranowski, of Warsaw-based GMF East, part of the German Marshall Fund think tank. He said Poland's attempt to show toughness toward Kyiv should be understood in the context of the election campaign, noting that Poland is capable of both modernizing its military and helping Ukraine.

(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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