In a move that has ignited a contentious diplomatic exchange, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for the expansion of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to include Germany as a permanent member. However, this proposal has not been received warmly by Poland’s Defense Minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, who criticized Ukraine’s stance, citing historical grievances and questioning Germany’s commitment to Ukraine.
President Zelensky made his proposal during a speech at the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday. He argued that the UNSC should undergo reforms, allowing for the inclusion of additional permanent members, such as Germany, the African Union, India, Japan, Islamic countries, and states from the Pacific and South America. Zelensky emphasized the need for systemic reform within the United Nations to address ongoing global challenges effectively.
While Zelensky’s proposal aims to make the UNSC more representative of the contemporary global geopolitical landscape, it has faced opposition from Mariusz Blaszczak, who voiced his concerns on public radio. The Polish Defense Minister criticized Ukraine’s call for Germany’s inclusion, pointing to unresolved issues stemming from World War II.
“Germany should settle its account with Poland respecting World War II,” Blaszczak asserted. “The claim we have filed with Germany for war reparations is still valid. Germany committed war crimes in occupied Poland. Six million Poles were murdered by the Germans. The economy was destroyed. Germany replies that nothing happened, that it was some Nazis that invaded Poland in 1939.”
Blaszczak’s remarks underscore the deep-rooted historical tensions between Poland and Germany. These historical grievances continue to cast a long shadow over their diplomatic relations.
Furthermore, the Polish Defense Minister raised the issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, highlighting a perceived lack of support from Germany during that crisis. He suggested that President Zelensky “seemed to have forgotten Germany’s reluctance to come to Ukraine’s aid during the conflict.”
“It is clear that President Zelensky’s calculations are different,” Blaszczak commented. “He is pursuing a policy he thinks is right, but from the Polish point of view, it is really a big disappointment.”
Zelensky’s proposal for UNSC reform comes in the context of Ukraine’s ongoing efforts to secure international support and resolve the conflict with Russia. During his speech at the UNSC, he lamented Russia’s use of its veto power to hinder the Council from addressing issues related to Russian aggression and genocide in Ukraine.