Here’s why Polish-Ukrainian relations are turning ugly — RT World News

The rift between the neighbors is now being felt on an emotional level as old tensions begin to resurface

Columnist for Kommersant Maxim Yusin Reflects the causes and consequences of the crisis in relations between Ukraine and Poland

The European Commission called on Polish security forces to ensure the passage of Ukrainian goods across the EU border. Brussels advised that local authorities are responsible for maintaining law and order, so Warsaw must protect passengers' rights and free movement of products, which are key to supply chains in the EU's internal market. On the other hand, farmers and truck drivers who have been blocking the passage of Ukrainian trucks since November have now been joined by fishermen who are dissatisfied with the environmental policies of the new Polish government. The farmers themselves plan to escalate their protests, closing checkpoints on the border with Ukraine as well as transport hubs, railway access routes and sea ports.

The crisis in Ukrainian-Polish relations may seem completely illogical and contradictory. After all, it was Warsaw that after February 24, 2022, positioned itself as Kiev's most reliable and assertive ally in Europe, and demanded the harshest measures against Moscow even as Paris and Berlin hesitated. President Macron proposed continuing the dialogue with his Russian counterpart, and Chancellor Schulz had initially hoped To limit the provision of 5,000 helmets to the Ukrainian army.

Today, two years later, the roles have reversed. France and Germany are now seen as unconditional supporters of the Ukrainian authorities, avoiding public criticism even when requested. However, the Poles stopped showing restraint and gave free rein to their emotions instead. They are not shy about being offended and freely express their complaints to Kiev.

In this regard, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament made a statement [parliament]Piotr Zgorzelski – who accused the mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovy, of using “[1940s Nazi collaborator, Stepan] Bandera language” He expressed his conviction that such rhetoric should have no place in Ukraine – and this was evidence of that.

Such words have not been said for two years in the Western camp (unless we take into account the prime ministers of Hungary and Slovakia with their own positions). The cult of Bandera, Roman Shukhevych and other controversial figures was ignored. Against the backdrop of Kiev's conflict with the Kremlin, this issue was seen as an uncomfortable nuance, best left unaddressed so as not to disturb this comfortable black-and-white picture of the world.

Another Ukrainian official, Deputy Minister of Economy and Trade Taras Kachka, also had a problem with the deputy speaker of parliament. Piotr Zgorzelski asked him to tone down his rhetoric and not insult Polish farmers protesting at border crossings. It should be noted that Zgorzelski represents the Third Power Alliance, which is part of the ruling coalition of Liberal Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Kiev hoped that after the change of power in Poland, the transition of nationalists from the Law and Justice Party to the opposition, the victory of pro-European Union forces, and friction with Warsaw last year, it would be a thing of the past. But, as we see, nothing of the kind happens.

While the Tusk government talks about Kiev, in reality it creates enormous problems for the Ukrainian authorities on the border, or rather does nothing to solve them.

Meanwhile, Kiev complains that the blockade of border crossings is already causing problems not only with the delivery of humanitarian goods, but also with military supplies. This comes at a time when the situation on the front lines has already become dire for the Ukrainian army.

In Ukrainian social networks, Poles are accused of treason and stabbed in the back. Any news on Telegram channels about the actions of Polish farmers and truck drivers is accompanied by hundreds of angry and frankly insulting comments, among which is the proposal to… “Allow the Russian forces to pass so they can deal with the Beshek (Polish)” She is one of the most innocent.

A Ukrainian refugee who moved to Warsaw told me that in recent months she has faced increasingly hostile attitudes. Her car, with Kiev license plates, was vandalized three times.

The discord between Poles and Ukrainians is beginning to be felt on an emotional level. The first accuses his neighbors of ingratitude, and the second responds to him with allegations of selfishness, greed, and lack of empathy. At the same time, European Union leaders have come under increasing criticism.

They were the ones who made the decision to cancel customs duties on Ukrainian goods, especially agricultural products, without calculating the pros and cons. They did not think about the consequences, and they turned out to be serious, both for farmers (not only in Poland, where protests are taking place throughout the bloc) and for truck drivers, whose colleagues from Ukraine receive much lower wages. , they destroy their entire business.

More generally, the turbulent events on the Ukrainian-Polish border make us think about the price of Kiev's potential EU membership, which the current leaders in Brussels are seeking to achieve, at least verbally. But with European Parliament elections approaching in June, it will be interesting to see to what extent the bloc's voters agree with these ambitions.

This article was first published by KommersantTranslated and edited by the RT team

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