Episode 40

Putin’s Stace on Poland’s Independence & more – 25th July 2023

Vladimir Putin on Polish independence, increasing threat from Belarus, drills with the US, wildfires in Greece, opposition’s common pact, Ukraine on grain trade, Border police to stop drunk man in his yacht, and much more!

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Witam from Keswick Village! This is the Rorshok Poland Update from 27th of July twenty twenty-three A quick summary of what's going down in Poland

Let's get the ball rolling with important foreign affairs news.

This week, there was an increasing threat to Polish security.

On Saturday, the 22nd, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to Poland amid Putin’s words about Polish independence. Vladimir Putin recently stated that "Poland's western lands were a gift from Stalin" and that Poland should be grateful to Russia for "restoring its independence". The foreign minister stated that Stalin was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Poles throughout history.

Moreover, on Wednesday, the 19th, Zbigniew Rau, the foreign minister, stated that Belarus could use Wagner fighters to increase the influx of illegal immigrants across the Polish border. The minister also answered a question about the words of a Russian lawmaker. Previously, a Russian lawmaker said that Russia could use Wagner soldiers to attack the Polish-Lithuanian border because it separates the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea from Belarus. The Polish minister said that the world should take the Russian threat seriously, as everyone witnessed what happened with Ukraine, and Poland is taking every necessary security measure.

In the same news, Polish army units from the western part of the country are moving to the eastern border. Mariusz Błaszczak, the defense minister, announced that the Polish army is moving towards the eastern part as the threat from Belarus has increased. Authorities stated that Wagner soldiers have started to train with the Belarusian army. The Polish army will conduct exercises on the eastern border to deter Belarus.

Amid the threats, Poland is increasing its cooperation with the US.

On Thursday, the 20th, reporters stated that the US army would train Polish soldiers. The Polish and US armies have signed an agreement about the training of the Polish army to protect borders. The US Army will train light infantry. More importantly, other training courses will also teach Poles how to defend against weapons of mass destruction. The course will also be about the use of American-made weapons like portable anti-tank systems.

On the next day, the US and Polish soldiers conducted a drill with the participation of the American Ambassador to Poland and the Polish Defense Minister. The drill marked the creation of the Polish Army's new 2nd Corps, as this unit will receive and use American Apache helicopters soon.

Unlike relations with the US, this week there was a blow to Ukrainian-Polish relations.

Also on Thursday, the 20th, Denys Shmyhal, the Ukrainian prime minister, criticized Poland for its decision to ban Ukrainian grains. Poland and other four European Union country members currently do not allow Ukrainian grain imports to protect their domestic farmers. The Ukrainian prime minister stated that the Polish government is acting unfriendly and populist. He said Ukraine needs to export its products as Russia recently blocked Ukrainian grain exports via sea.

However, the Polish government responded to the prime minister. A deputy foreign minister said that Ukraine’s PM statement was aggressive and that the prime minister should appreciate Polish efforts in helping Ukraine amid the invasion. The deputy foreign minister also said that Poland is acting according to its national interest and will continue to protect its farmers.

Another blow was in EU-Polish relations.

On Friday, the 21st, the European Union submitted a complaint to the Court of Justice of the EU, or CJEU, on the rule of law in Poland. The CJEU will evaluate the complaint since, according to the EU, Poland has not implemented enough measures to provide an independent Constitutional Tribunal in the country.

And finally, Polish foreign affairs with Greece.

On Wednesday, the 19th, Poland sent firefighters to Greece to boost the fight against wildfires. Greece is facing severe fires because the country is experiencing excessive heat. The Polish government stated that Greece asked for help, and Poland sent fire service units from the western Polish city of Poznań and the southern city of Kraków.

On Monday, the 24th, government officials announced that authorities are evacuating Polish tourists from Greek wildfires, primarily on Rhodos Island. Officials said that authorities moved some Poles to other hotels while others took shelter in muster points. Greek authorities informed that the incident provoked the biggest evacuation in the country’s history.

When it comes to the domestic sphere…

On Wednesday, the 19th, police action towards a woman who took an abortion pill caused outrage in the country. Reporters stated that a woman took an abortion pill that she had ordered online. However, soon she felt sick and called her doctor. Her doctor thought she was committing suicide and called the police. When police officers came to the scene, they surrounded her to prevent a possible suicide. However, the woman made an official complaint against police officers because she thought their actions were about preventing her from having an abortion, as abortion is forbidden in Poland.

The opposition parties reacted harshly. Donald Tusk, the leader of the Civic Platform, announced another protest just before the elections. He said his party will protest against the mistreatment the woman received from the police. He said that the ruling party is trying to rule people’s bedrooms, which means reducing individual freedoms, including the right to have an abortion.

However, the government thinks differently. Government officials said the police interfered to prevent a possible suicide and that their actions had nothing to do with the abortion. The authorities will do further investigation into the police’s interference to determine if the woman had been mistreated.

Speaking of the relations between the opposition and the ruling party…

On Sunday, the 23rd, the tension between the opposition and the ruling party increased as a fire broke out in a field full of garbage and plastic waste in the western city of Zielona Góra. The fire resulted from illegal garbage and waste stored in Poland’s countryside. The opposition blamed the government for letting ‘garbage mafias’ operate in Poland. At the same time, Poland said that Germany illegally transferred and stored its waste on Polish soil. The country will send an official complaint against Germany to the European Union on this matter.

Let’s not forget to also speak about the opposition’s agreement.

On Tuesday, the 25th, reporters stated that the opposition parties had finished their talks on the common pact before the election. Opposition parties were working on an agreement called the Senate Pact to gain a majority in the parliament and the Senate in the next October election. Reporters expect party officials to announce their agreement in the next few days or weeks.

In unrelated news…

On Sunday, the 23rd, local officials stated that the city of Zakopane had become famous among Arab visitors. In Zakopane, anyone can encounter halal restaurants, hijabs, burqas, and the ubiquitous Arabic language, unlike in any other Polish city. Shop owners emphasized that eighty percent of the visitors are Arabs, and they are happy about that as Arabs spend a notable amount of money during their stay.

And to wrap up this edition, on Thursday, the 20th, Border police stopped a yacht driven by a seventy-two-year-old drunk man, before it entered Russian territorial waters in the Baltic Sea. The man stated that he wanted to sail to Denmark, but he was actually dragging himself to Russia. Authorities state that he can face up to two years in prison as he was totally intoxicated while driving his boat.

Aaaaand that’s it for this week! Thanks for joining us!

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