Poland says it will stop arming Ukraine. How did we get here – and what does it mean for the war?
The decision by Poland to halt the sale of arms to Ukraine is a significant move in the ongoing conflict between the two countries, and is the result of diplomatic pressure from both sides and increased international concerns over the escalating violence in the region. It is an important step in attempting to end the violence, as the sale of weapons has been seen as a major contributor to the persistence of the conflict.
The conflict began in 2014 when Russia annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea following a pro-Russian uprising, and a pro-Russian separatist insurgency later began in eastern Ukraine. Since then, both sides have become increasingly entrenched in a heated conflict, with no clear end in sight. The Ukrainian government has accused Russia of fuelling the insurgency through the transfer of weapons and fighters, while Russia has denied any involvement.
The decision by Poland to stop sending arms to Ukraine follows a German-led diplomatic effort to negotiate a ceasefire between the two sides, with both sides agreeing to a “comprehensive ceasefire.” While this did not eliminate the violence and war completely, it did provide a temporary respite in fighting and opened the door for further diplomatic efforts.
In making their decision, Poland likely weighed the risks involved in further intensifying the conflict by supplying more arms. This would both give Ukrainian forces more capability against a heavily armed, Russian-sponsored insurgency and potentially provoke greater aggression from Russia as well. By ending its deliveries of weapons, Poland has effectively removed itself from a potential destabilizing factor in the conflict.
Any degree of peace between Ukraine and Russia, however, will be contingent on both parties abiding by the current ceasefire and engaging in further negotiations. Poland’s decision to end weapons sales is certainly a step in the right direction, but it remains to be seen whether or not this move will bring the war to a close.