Poland’s Far-Right Government: Arms Delivery Threat to Ukraine

On September 20, amid growing tensions between the Polish and Ukrainian governments, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared that Warsaw would not send “any more weapons to Ukraine.” This statement, which appeared to directly contradict NATO’s policy of arming Ukraine to wage war against Russia, was denounced by ruling circles across Europe.

Yesterday, Polish President Andrzej Duda tried to downplay Morawiecki’s remarks. Speaking about Poland’s massive rearmament program, which aims to devote 4 percent of its economy to defense and develop an army of 1,500 tanks, Duda said: “The prime minister simply wanted to say that we will not transfer to Ukraine the new weapons that we are acquiring to modernize the Polish army. Duda complained that Morawiecki’s remarks had been “interpreted in the worst possible way.”

In reality, Morawiecki’s threat undeniably reflected the deep conflicts between the far-right Law and Justice (PiS) government and the NATO-backed regime of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which are intensifying in the part of the war waged by the United States and NATO against Russia in Ukraine.

The threat came shortly after the Zelensky regime filed a complaint against the Polish government at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for imposing unilateral tariffs on Ukrainian grain exports. After the European Union (EU) lifted tariffs on Ukrainian grain amid the war, Poland, like Slovakia and Hungary, imposed unilateral tariffs last week to limit the collapse grain prices for its farmers. Facing parliamentary elections next month, PiS hoped to retain the support of small farmers, who make up about 40 percent of Poland’s population.

Following his WTO complaint against Poland, Zelensky made further remarks against Warsaw on Tuesday at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

To explain why NATO should intensify its war against Russia, Zelensky denounced not only Russia, but also NATO countries, which he said were not supporting Ukraine enough. “It is impossible to stop this war because all efforts are vetoed by the aggressor or those who support the aggressor,” Zelensky said. He attacked unnamed European countries which he said “indirectly support Russia”.

Zelensky’s remarks immediately sparked a diplomatic crisis with Warsaw’s far-right regime, which is fiercely anti-Russian. The PiS government summoned the Ukrainian ambassador to Poland, Vasyl Zvarych, to denounce Zelensky’s insinuations that the PiS government has sympathies toward Russia. The Polish Foreign Ministry’s statement said Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski conveyed a “strong protest” to Zelensky’s statement that “some EU countries are feigning solidarity [with Ukraine] while indirectly supporting Russia.

The statement added that “pressuring Poland in multilateral forums or sending complaints to international courts are not appropriate methods for resolving disputes between our countries.”

Polish officials, however, continued to criticize Ukraine’s catastrophic “counter-offensive” over the summer, which was estimated to have raised the war death toll to around 400,000. “Ukraine is behaving like a drowning person clinging to everything they can get their hands on,” Duda said. “A drowning person is extremely dangerous, capable of pulling you into the depths…and simply drowning the rescuer.”

Morawiecki, for his part, called for no more further arms deliveries to Ukraine. He added that the PiS government would focus “mainly on the rapid modernization and arming of the Polish army, so that it becomes one of the most powerful land armies in Europe, and this in a short period of time. time”. At the same time, he made it clear that the PiS government remained committed to waging the NATO war against Russia. He promised that Warsaw would continue to allow NATO arms deliveries to Ukraine to pass through the Polish military base in Rzeszow, near the Polish border with Ukraine.

Major European Union (EU) governments and media outlets have denounced PiS for making even limited criticism of NATO’s war against Russia. The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung set the tone by deploring a “dam failure in Poland”. “It is astonishing how the PiS government is making Ukraine the toy of its electoral maneuvers. This reveals a narrow view of Polish interests and devalues Poland’s previous position on the war,” writes this newspaper.

In France, where Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna criticized the Polish statements as “regrettable” and dictated by “domestic political considerations,” the press also called them electoral. In its editorial, the daily Le Monde complained that “Poland has lost its way,” adding: “Until now Ukraine’s strongest ally, the Polish government is turning against Kiev for electoral reasons. This tactic is dangerous for Ukraine and for Europe.”

This position was echoed by the main Polish bourgeois opposition party, the pro-EU Civic Platform of former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Tusk accused PiS of a “moral and geopolitical scandal of politically stabbing Ukraine in the back simply because it will benefit its campaign.”

PiS unquestionably pursues a far-right nationalist program hostile to the working class. His rearmament campaign and support for the Zelensky regime went hand in hand with the impoverishment of Polish workers as inflation reached 18 percent, and the establishment of puppet courts to try enemies of the state, like those who are accused of sympathy towards Russia. But attempts by pro-EU forces to dismiss the conflict between Poland and Ukraine as a simple electoral maneuver by PiS are political lies.

The statements of Biden and Zelensky at the UN made it clear that despite the bloody failure of the Ukrainian “counter-offensive”, NATO is determined to intensify the war with Russia. Poland, which borders both the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and Belarus, a former Soviet republic allied with Russia, is on the front line of this escalation. Regardless of the PiS government’s intentions, these plans for a third pan-European world war raise explosive political questions.

More than 5 million people died in Poland during World War II, around a sixth of the pre-war population, mostly at the hands of Nazi occupying forces. Poland was liberated from Nazi rule by the Red Army in 1944. However, at the start of the war, Poland was divided between Germany and the Soviet Union, under the reactionary provisions of Stalin’s non-aggression pact. -Hitler 1939. During this initial period of the war, the Soviet secret police NKVD, loyal to Stalin, carried out massacres in eastern Poland, such as the Katyn Forest Massacre.

Furthermore, after Hitler launched his war of annihilation against the Soviet Union in 1941, Nazi SS units worked with Nazi-collaborating Ukrainian forces, led by Stepan Bandera, who carried out a campaign of genocide aimed at both Jews and Poles.

PiS, although containing neo-fascist and anti-Semitic elements, therefore felt obliged to protest in a limited way against the promotion of Bandera by the NATO-backed Ukrainian regime. In January, when Bandera’s memory was praised by the Ukrainian parliament and Ukrainian General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, PiS issued a euphemistic statement saying that Bandera’s commemoration “should raise objections.”

These conflicts, such as the possibility of Poland invading Ukraine to retake lands around Lviv in western Ukraine once controlled by Poland, are the basis of the current feud between Warsaw and Kiev.

They underline the historical bankruptcy of imperialism and Stalinism. The restoration of capitalism by the Stalinist regimes in 1989-1991 undeniably led to disaster. The former Soviet republics of Russia and Ukraine are engaged in a fratricidal war fueled by the imperialist powers of NATO. The parties that emerged from the restoration of capitalism by Polish Stalinism in 1989 are either open supporters of war with Russia or far-right supporters of the rearmament of Poland, a policy which only prepares the ground for a even bloodier confrontation between NATO and Russia.

The plunge of capitalism into a new world war raises with all the more force the Marxist alternative to Stalinism proposed by Leon Trotsky and his perspective of unifying the European and international working class in a revolutionary struggle against capitalism and the Stalinist bureaucracies .

The war and the attacks on the living standards of the workers who finance it arouse strong opposition, including in Poland itself. Recently, Poland experienced a nationwide teachers’ strike, as well as mass protests against the PiS regime’s undemocratic establishment of courts to try those suspected of sympathizing with Russia. To avoid a truly horrifying military escalation between nuclear powers, this working class opposition must be unified across national borders into an international movement against imperialism, war and capitalism.

This article is originally published on wsws.org

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