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Many in Ukraine also believe it was a mistake to attack Poland

Is Zelensky dancing to Germany's tune?

Kónya Rita
2023.09.23. 14:56 2023.09.25. 13:38
Is Zelensky dancing to Germany's tune?

The diplomatic tit-for-tat that we have witnessed recently between Ukraine and one of its key allies, Poland, has caused considerable shock waves. Why did the Ukrainians go so far? what could have been behind President Zelensky's sharp words? We asked Jerzy Kwasniewski, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ordo Iuris Institute.

"In order to understand what transpired in the past few days, we need to look back at what Poland's government and the Polish people did for the Ukrainians immediately after the invasion," Jerzy Kwasniewski, board chairman and founder of Poland's Ordo Iuris Institute, told Magyar Nemzet. "If we add up the aid given directly to the Ukrainian government, the benefits provided to refugees and the support given to millions of Ukrainians who had relocated to Poland because of the war but cannot be considered refugees in the classical sense, yet, for whom the Polish government provided the same social benefits as to its own citizens, we see that Poland was the biggest supporter globally of Ukraine," he explains, adding that not only did the Polish government help, but that also ordinary citizens have done their utmost to welcome the newcomers from Ukraine into their own homes.

A strategic aim of Poland is to have an independent Ukraine that is pro-European and willing to join, or at least cooperate, with European structures, instead of Russian ones - a Ukraine that establishes a modern, constitutional, just, corruption-free public administration, that is open to European and Polish investments, as well as open and welcoming to Polish entrepreneurs,

Mr Kwasniewski said of his country's goals.

"So in light of all this,  to so much as postulate that Poland would even unwittingly contribute to the implementation of the Kremlin's plans, is simply absurd,"

he stated.

It is already apparent, now, that Kyiv is also trying to back down from the measures it has taken so far, for example the proceedings initiated against Poland at the World Trade Organization (WTO), because they realized that they have gone too far. "Poland put restrictions on only the importing of grain, and not its tranzit through the country. These import limitations were brought in order to stabilize the Polish market and thus create the basis for further support to Ukraine. This was well understood by many Ukrainians and Ukrainian politicians," Mr Kwasniewski emphasized.

I would refer back to the analogy of President Duda, who said that Ukraine is like a drowning man, who, because of his predicament, grasps panic-stricken at anything, making moves that are not effective. It is clear, and also clear to many Ukrainians, that staging an open attack on Poland, an attack that affects the country's fundamental interests, will undermine the political support of a country that is helping Ukraine in such a giant and selfless manner,

the expert recalled.

But then, how should we interpret Zelensky's outburst before the UN General Assembly? A show of strength for the Ukrainian public? A diplomatic blunder? Mr Kwasniewski highlights a third possibility: in his view, Zelensky's words in New York may have been inspired by the desire to cater to the German government. The Zelenskyi administration, he postulates, is trying to get closer to Germany, as evidenced by, for example, the determination with which the Ukrainian president stood up for Germany's permanent membership in the UN Security Council.

Along these lines, Zelensky's open criticism of Poland could also be part of a political game, since it is well known that the liberal German government is supportive of the liberal Polish opposition.

As a result of Ukraine's actions, the public sentiment in Poland, which had been 100% supportive until then, has shifted to people wanting to see tough countermeasures, which could amount to Polish-Ukrainian relations becoming more realistic, and a restructuring of support. At the same time, this brings the country one step closer in line with Hungary's policies, but it is unlikely to get any closer, because Poland has very different national interests in this situation. Poland will always support Ukraine, because Ukraine is one of the most important partners in stopping Russian influence, he underlined.

When asked his thoughts on the implications of the recent Soros acquisition, the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita, openly attacking Zelensky's actions, Mr Kwasniewski replied that, in his opinion, the fact that the Ukrainian president - in stark contrast to his visit to Washington last December - this time, was not given the opportunity to address the US Congress. This is much more revealing than any newspaper article.

It seems that the likelihood of a withdrawal of support are also growing in American politics, and Zelensky probably did not count on this,

- concluded the Ordo Iuris Institute's president of the board.

Cover photo: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking at the UN Security Council (UN) meeting on the war in Ukraine, UN headquarters in New York, NY on September 20, 2023 (Photo: MTI/AP/Craig Ruttle)

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