Zelensky: Ukraine will respond in ‘civilized manner’ to Poland, Hungary and Slovakia’s grain bans

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky waits to greet U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool via AP)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country will offer a “civilized response” to the recent grain import bans instituted by three Central European countries.

The Ukrainian president also reacted on his Telegram channel, where he thanked European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for the decision to lift restrictions on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products into the EU. He, however, warned Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

“Ukraine will respond in a civilized manner,” he wrote.

Ukrainian officials also stated yesterday that they planned to sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia at the World Trade Organization (WTO) after the three Central European countries instituted their own unilateral bans on Ukrainian grain, after the European Commission refused to extend the common EU ban when it expired on Sept. 15.

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Romania and Bulgaria, also hit hard by the Ukrainian grains flooding their markets, have yet to respond.

On Monday, Deputy Economy Minister and Ukrainian Trade Representative Taras Kachka told Bloomberg News that Ukraine was preparing to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization. He also stated that Ukraine was considering retaliatory tariffs for food products, as well as automobiles from Hungary.

“It is important to prove that these actions are legally wrong. And that’s why we will start legal proceedings tomorrow,” Kachka told Politico.

As Remix News reported yesterday, the EU may not take immediate action against the three countries, especially with elections approaching in Poland, but EU officials have signaled that trade decisions lie with Brussels, and enforcement action may come at a later date.

While the European Commission had earlier decided not to extend restrictions on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products to several EU border countries, it did call on Kyiv to introduce measures to control exports.

Neither Poland, Slovakia nor Hungary complied with this decision and unilaterally extended the ban on Ukrainian grain imports from Sept. 16.

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