The man is accused of inciting hatred after calling for the Russian president to “deal with Ukraine and Brussels” © X/DominikSerwacki

Polish authorities have charged a farmer who took part in a protest against Ukrainian grain imports with hate speech for equipping his tractor with a Soviet flag and a message appealing to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As reported by the Wyborcza news outlet, more than 100 tractors blocked a road near the village of Gorzyczki on Tuesday. The demonstrators were demanding the closure of the Polish-Ukrainian border, a ban on importing agricultural products that do not meet EU standards, such as cheap Ukrainian grain, and the rejection of the bloc’s Green Deal, arguing that the regulations proposed in the bill would ruin European agriculture.

The farmers threatened to organize an even larger protest in Warsaw and block parliamentary buildings if their demands were not heard.

During the protest, one tractor drew particular attention from the media and, subsequently, the police. A farmer adorned his vehicle with a USSR flag and a placard reading: “Putin, deal with Ukraine, Brussels and our rulers.”

After photos of the tractor started circulating in the media, Polish police issued a statement on X advising that “breaking the law and inciting hatred is not allowed.” They also stated that anyone who “commits an act out of hatred towards another human being will be held criminally liable,” and that the farmer in question was being charged under Poland’s hate speech laws.

Some time later, the head of the Polish Ministry of the Interior, Marcin Kierwinski, wrote on X that the “scandalous banner” had been immediately removed and secured by Polish law enforcement officers. He confirmed that the police and the prosecutor’s office were taking action against the protester.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky reacted to Tuesday’s farmer protests in Poland by saying they seemed like “outright mockery” for Ukrainian soldiers, and lamented the “erosion of solidarity” caused by such protests. He claimed they were “not about grain, but rather politics.”

The EU agriculture market was disrupted in 2022, after Brussels lifted tariffs and quotas for Ukrainian products in a bid to support Kiev’s war effort. The decision has since caused mass protests across Eastern Europe, as farmers have argued that they can’t compete with cheap Ukrainian agricultural imports that are not subject to EU standards and regulations. (RT)