Poland’s Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski announced on November 2 that Ukrainians with “anti-Polish views” would be denied visas to enter the country. He did not say how this policy would be applied.
“At the moment, we are launching procedures that will not allow people with extremely anti-Polish views to come to Poland… Those who demonstrate and use administrative instruments against Poland will also bear the consequences,” Waszczykowski told state-run TVP1 television.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, Waszczykowski stressed the policy was a reaction to disrespect shown at a Polish cemetery in the western city of Lviv, which was part of Poland before World War Two. Officials in Warsaw reported that lion sculptures at the cemetery’s entrances that hold shields inscribed with the Polish phrases “Always faithful” and “To you, Poland” had been covered up with boxes.
Poland is home to as many as 2m Ukrainians who left their country seeking jobs after the 2014 Maidan uprising and conflict with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine plunged their economy into recession.
In a separate report, Radio Poland online quoted Waszczykowski addressing public broadcaster TVP1. “We are aware just how important Ukraine is to us for geopolitical reasons… but the Ukrainians, aware of their country’s significance for our security, believe that issues that divide us, especially historical ones, should be relegated to the second or even third tier in terms of importance,” he said.
He added that unless Ukraine changed its approach to issues important to Poland, it would face consequences. If no agreement is reached, he told TVP1, authorities in Poland will “launch procedures that will not allow people who hold extreme anti-Polish positions to come to Poland.”
Waszczykowski named “people who dress up in SS Galizien uniforms” and also suggested the ban would apply to Ukrainian officials who do not allow Polish experts to continue their search and exhumation work in Ukraine and who are preventing continued work to renovate sites in that country of significance to Poland.
“Individuals who use administrative instruments against Poland will also bear consequences,” Waszczykowski said.