“The time of war panic is over. We behaved really well. I know that we are also defending our independence to some extent by helping Ukraine, but now we need greater calculations and difficult negotiations with Ukraine. I think Ukraine will understand that, because it still needs our help,” says Bogdan Rzuka, MEP for PiS, in an interview with wPolityce.pl.
wPolityce.pl: Recently, Poland has witnessed a series of hostile behavior from Ukraine. This includes: On Ukraine filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization against Poland due to the ban on grain imports from Ukraine. In turn, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke at the UN forum about a “sensational film” in which some would help “set the stage for the Moscow actor.” What is the reason for this current Ukrainian narrative towards Poland, and what is it about?
Bogdan Rzunka: German influence on Ukrainian politicians is evident here. Zelensky begins to speak favorably about the Germans. I see an attempt by the Germans to seduce Ukraine and some Ukrainian politicians were seduced. Unfortunately, President Zelensky’s speech at the UN forum, as well as the statements of some Ukrainian ministers, will remain in the pages of history. These statements do not categorically mean that we are enemies of Ukraine, because no one needs this war, but we can express our surprise and even regret at these statements, because they harm Poland. Ukraine must realize that Poland was the first country to impose a narrative on Europe that Ukraine needs help. When others in Europe were calculating matters, our politicians went to Kiev. We cannot not respond to statements like those made by President Zelensky, and I applaud what the Prime Minister has done.
In fact, yesterday in Swednyk the Prime Minister made a very harsh comment on the words of the President of Ukraine speaking at the United Nations. He added: “I also want to tell President Zelensky never to insult Poles again, as he recently did during his speech at the United Nations. Poles will never allow this.”
This is what we must do and send a clear signal that we know very well how we helped the Ukrainians, the Ukrainians know it very well as well and it cannot be that someone ruins our reputation in the international arena because he may get one or two things. From the Germans. The Germans have been planning this war for a long time, and only now, when it comes to rebuilding Ukraine, they are involved in different projects, but Poland is definitely among those who helped Ukraine. You cannot let the Ukrainians’ statements go unpunished. I would like to believe that it was an accident at work on their part and that they would undo it. Accusing Poland of supporting Putin in any way is simply shameful.
What conclusions should Poland draw from this situation, i.e. from the unfriendly actions and statements of Ukrainian politicians towards Poland?
Perhaps we were too moderate in our expectations regarding the clarification of many issues, for example Volhynia. It’s wartime, and I know it’s a difficult topic, but we have to play harder on many issues. We have learned a lesson from the Ukrainians on how to behave. We are a strong country in Central Europe, many countries take us seriously, and Ukrainians should also pay attention to what they say about Poland on the international stage. The conclusions are clear: if we continue to help Ukraine, it will be because Ukraine is transparent, thanks us, and accepts on the international stage what Poland is doing. We have a good president and a good prime minister. They are able to draw conclusions from what happened. I don’t want to talk about any political war with Ukraine, we don’t need it, but our tough stance and defense of Polish interests is what the Poles want.
You say that Poland should play more seriously with Ukraine on many matters. what do you mean exactly?
This should be taken into account when it comes to the reconstruction of Ukraine – both as an independent state and as part of a group of states. Poland should benefit from this, because we have spent more than 8 billion euros in the last 10 months or so. Historical issues must also be clarified, and the Ukrainians must finally begin returning churches to the Roman Catholic Church in Lviv. There were promises in this regard, but there is no return. We have three points that we should not abandon regarding Ukraine: participation in the reconstruction of Ukraine, the Volhynia issue, and the return of property to the Roman Catholic Churches. Moreover, of course, trade with us should be organized in such a way that it does not cause any harm to Polish farmers. In Ukraine, we deal with large German, Italian and Dutch companies that produce food there, and unfortunately this must be taken into account. It is not Ukrainian farmers, but these companies that reap financial benefits from selling grain. We must firmly tell the Ukrainians that if we want to help Ukraine, Polish farmers must not be victims of this aid.
In short, do you expect aid to Ukraine to be conditional on specific actions by Ukraine toward Poland?
Of course, I have no doubt about it, everyone does it. The time of war panic is over. We behaved really well. I know that we are also defending our independence to some extent by helping Ukraine, but now we need greater calculations and difficult negotiations with Ukraine. I think Ukraine will understand that, because it still needs our help. They know very well that the largest reloading center that helps them is in Rzeszow. We do not benefit from this war, we spend money on aid, and therefore the Ukrainians cannot exploit us in the international arena.
– Prime Minister: I want to tell the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky not to insult Poles again
– Controversial words by Zelensky. He has a grudge against his “friends in Europe.” Szydło: “These are insinuations that do not befit such a serious politician.”
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