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Poland announces stop to supplying arms to Ukraine, says modernizing its own weapons

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said late Wednesday his country will no longer send weapons to Ukraine as the far right continues to place pressure on his populist party over its support of the country, and a dispute over grain ban continues to escalate between neighboring countries.

Rather than transfer weapons to Ukraine, the prime minister said Poland was now arming itself with the most modern weapons due to fears of Russian aggression in the region. Morawiecki did not elaborate on how the two actions were connected.

On Thursday, Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller clarified with the Associated Press, saying Poland was only going to provide ammunition and armaments that were previously agreed upon. He added that there has been “a series of absolutely unacceptable statements and diplomatic gestures” from Ukraine on the matter.

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Morawiecki and zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, and Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. (AP Photo / Michal Dyjuk / File / Fox News)

Poland supplied Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks and Soviet-era MiG fighter jets, along with a wide range of weaponry.

Yet, while the Polish citizens are largely in favor of supporting Ukraine out of fears their country would be vulnerable if Russia succeeded in Ukraine, there are growing concerns about the large numbers of refugees.

With an election coming up Oct. 15, the right-leaning Confederation party has reiterated the lack of gratitude given to Poland by Ukraine for arming the neighboring country and taking in its refugees.

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a photo of Volodomyr Zelenskyy walking through Kherson, Ukraine

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Kherson, Ukraine, in June. (Reuters / Stringer / File / Fox News)

Emotions have also been running high since Slovakia, Hungary and Poland announced a ban on Ukrainian grain imports to protect farmers, which went into effect last week.

The dispute between Poland and Ukraine comes as the latter continues making slow progress against Russia. There are fears Poland’s move to stop providing weapons to Ukraine will have wider ramifications as another winter of battle quickly approaches.

Ukraine’s leadership in Kyiv continues to ask for more advanced weapons, including longer range missiles, and U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week the need for increased weapons and equipment in Ukraine remains.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR US TO CONTINUE OUR SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE

Donetsk fighting

Ukrainian soldiers from the 60th Battalion of Territorial Defense fire rounds into Russian positions with an S60 anti-aircraft canon. (Wojciech Grzedzinski / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images / File / Fox News)

U.S. leaders are also looking for ways to continue providing weapons to Ukraine, though U.S. voters are growing tired of helping the foreign country.

Michal Baranowski, a security and defense expert, told the AP that 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 Morawiecki’s comments troubling for Ukraine as it seeks to maintain Western support in the war unleashed by Russia.

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Bakmut fighting

Ukrainian soldiers fire a cannon near Bakhmut, an eastern city where fierce battles against Russian forces have been taking place, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine. (AP Photo / Libkos / File / Fox News)

“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,” Baranowski said. “Saying Poland will not be sending more weapons means that Poland can no longer play this role.”

He added that Poland is capable of both modernizing its military and continuing to help Ukraine.

The ban on Ukrainian grain imports that was put in place last week to protect farmers from an abundance of Ukrainian grain in Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. That abundance not only lowers prices but hurts the livelihood of farmers.

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Agriculture ministers in Ukraine and Poland said on Thursday they were working to resolve the situation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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