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U.S. says Poland will continue 'to stand behind Ukraine' amid row

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published September 21,2023
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on September 21, 2023. (AFP Photo)

Poland has informed the U.S. it will continue to stand up in defense of Ukraine against Russia's ongoing assault, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Thursday amid a biting row between Warsaw and Kyiv.

Sullivan said he was "concerned" when he saw Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawieck announce that Warsaw would no longer be supplying military aid to Ukraine, but said the Polish government has since clarified that its "provision of equipment, including things like Polish manufactured howitzers is continuing, and that Poland continues to stand behind Ukraine."

"We will stay in consultation with them to ensure that we understand fully what the nature of Poland's stances are on these issues, but I believe that Poland will continue to be a supporter of Ukraine," he added.

Poland announced the arms suspension Wednesday amid a worsening row with Ukraine concerning grain exports, which has led to deteriorating ties between the eastern European neighbors to the worst point since Russia began its invasion in February 2022.

Ukraine filed a complaint Tuesday with the World Trade Organization, alleging Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have banned grain imports from Ukrainian territory. The complaint was lodged months after Russia effectively killed a deal that had allowed Ukrainian grain to flow from its ports for about one year.

Asked about the grain crisis, Morawiecki said that Poland is helping in the victory "against the Russian barbarian, but the government cannot agree to the disruption of the Polish market."

"We will definitely maintain the transit of Ukrainian goods. Poland does not incur any costs because of this. On the contrary, we can say that we make money from it," he said.

Morawiecki added that Poland would not risk Ukraine's security. "Our hub in Rzeszow, in consultation with the Americans and NATO, continues to play the same role it has played and will continue to play," he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden is slated to announce another military aid package for Ukraine that includes "significant air defense capabilities to help Ukraine protect its people," said Sullivan.

"These capabilities will help Ukraine harden its defenses ahead of what is likely to be a tough winter, filled with renewed Russian attacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure to try to deprive innocent people of necessities like heat and electricity because President Putin cannot achieve his objectives on the battlefield," he added.

Also included will be additional ammunition for already-supplied HIMARS missile systems, anti-armor weapons, artillery ammunition and other weapons.

The package will not include long-range surface-to-surface missile systems publicly sought by Ukraine, known as ATACMS, but Biden has not ruled out their provision in the future, according to Sullivan.