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Poland Phases Aid Amid Diplomatic Strain

Poland Phases Out Aid to Ukrainian Refugees Amid Diplomatic Strain

An EU member state is set to discontinue financial aid to Ukrainian refugees, as revealed by a spokesperson for the Polish government. Piotr Muller stated in an interview with the PAP news agency that the gradual phasing out of assistance will commence in the first quarter of 2024.
Emphasizing the temporary nature of the decisions made during the onset of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Muller highlighted that the stage of mass Ukrainian migration, which prompted the financial aid, has concluded. The legal framework facilitating this assistance is scheduled to expire in the first quarter of the upcoming year.

Poland Cuts Aid, Strains Diplomacy with Ukraine

Approximately 5.7 million Ukrainians have sought refuge in Poland since the conflict’s initiation, with an estimated 1 million still residing there. Muller’s announcement coincides with strained relations between Poland and Ukraine, driven by a disagreement over grain exports and despite the European Council’s decision to lift grain export restrictions on Ukraine, Poland, along with Slovakia and Hungary, extended a unilateral embargo on Ukrainian grain to prevent market destabilization. This move led to a formal complaint by Ukraine to the World Trade Organization.

In response to the diplomatic tensions, Muller predicted challenging times for the relationship between Poland and Ukraine, emphasizing that Warsaw is unwilling to compromise its national interests for solidarity. President Zelensky accused Polish officials of political posturing, asserting that the grain ban inadvertently aided Russia.

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The Polish Foreign Minister noted that restoring ties between the two nations would demand a significant effort, expressing that trust among Poles had been eroded by Ukraine’s WTO complaint and Zelensky’s critical remarks. Polish President Andrzej Duda characterized Kyiv as a “drowning man,” warning of potential adverse consequences for those attempting to assist.

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