Poland concerned by support for Putin at farmer’s protests: ‘Influence of Russian agents’

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Polish authorities voiced grave concerns after slogans praising Russian President Vladimir Putin and his war against Ukraine appeared at Polish farmers’ protests.

The Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that it believed extreme groups were trying to take over the farmers’ protest movement “perhaps under the influence of Russian agents”.

On Tuesday, one tractor at a protest in the southern region of Silesia carried a Soviet flag and a banner that said: “”Putin, put things in order with Ukraine, Brussels, and our rulers”.

Interior minister Marcin Kierwinski called the banner “scandalous” and said that it was immediately secured by police, and that prosecutors were also investigating.

“There will be no consent to such criminal activities,” he said.

The public promotion of a totalitarian system can be punished with up to three years in prison under Polish law.


Poland, a member of Nato and the EU and located along Ukraine’s western border, has been a staunch supporter of Kyiv since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, accepting an unlimited numbers of refugees and providing Ukraine with weaponry.

With memories of past oppression by Moscow rooted deeply in generational memory, Polish people are largely supportive of Ukraine.

But tensions have been growing as Polish farmers blame imports of Ukrainian grain and other food for pushing down prices.

Polish farmers are among farmers across Europe who have protesting competition from Ukraine as well as EU environmental policies, which they say will increase their production costs.

In Poland, they have also blockaded the border with Ukraine, and some spilled Ukrainian grain from freight trains on Tuesday – an act that was strongly denounced by Ukrainian officials.

This aerial view taken on February 20, 2024 shows Polish farmers with their tractors and vehicles blocking a highway

(AFP via Getty Images)

The Foreign Ministry in Warsaw said it “notes with the greatest concern the appearance of anti-Ukrainian slogans and slogans praising Vladimir Putin and the war he is waging” during recent blockades.

The ministry called on the protest organisers “to identify and eliminate from their movement” the handful of initiators, arguing that it was necessary for the country’s interest.

“The current situation of Polish farmers is the result of Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine and the disruption of the global economy, not because Ukrainians are defending themselves against the aggression,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Farmers are protesting across the European Union, saying they are facing rising costs and taxes, red tape, excessive environmental rules and competition from cheap food imports. Demonstrations have been taking place for weeks in countries including France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Italy and Greece.

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