EU preparing sanctions amid Russian threat to Ukraine: Polish PM

Poland’s prime minister on Friday said the European Union was drawing up a package of sanctions against Moscow amid fresh reports that Russia could soon attack Ukraine.

Polands Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki talks to reporters after the conclusion of the European Union-African Union summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki talks to reporters after the conclusion of the European Union-African Union summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday.PAP/Marcin Obara

Mateusz Morawiecki delivered the news to reporters following the EU’s summit with the African Union in Brussels, Poland’s PAP news agency reported.

The Polish prime minister said: “When I met with EU leaders, prime ministers and presidents in November, there was no such awareness of the risks beyond our eastern border. Today, this awareness is shared by both the European Commission and our main partners.”

Morawiecki told reporters he had discussed the challenges posed by the Russian buildup around Ukraine with European leaders including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and European Council President Charles Michel, the niezalezna.pl website reported.

“It’s an enormous challenge because today we have been receiving further reports that an attack will most probably take place in the coming days or weeks,” Morawiecki said.

He added that both within the European Council and during bilateral talks he had emphasised the need for a package of strict and firm sanctions to be prepared in advance.

This would enable the West to make “a very powerful response” in the event of Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Polish prime minister said.

“I can say that we are slowly moving towards this goal,” he added.

Morawiecki also announced: „I persuaded our partners to provide financial assistance to Ukraine. We make our partners aware of how dangerous this situation is for the West. We want the conflict to de-escalate and we want Europe to develop peacefully – that is our goal.”

‘Severe Western sanctions’

In a video message posted later on Facebook, Morawiecki said:

“A little over 30 years ago, the nations of Central Europe regained their freedom and with it the hopes of a better future.”

He added: “And yet, Vladimir Putin’s recent aggression towards Ukraine threatens to unravel the last 30 years and heralds a return to gloomy times.”

Morawiecki also said in his message that „certain values are non-negotiable,” listing „a nation’s right to decide its own destiny.”

He said: “Freedom and sovereignty are the very bedrock of the Western civilisation.”

Morawiecki warned that “according to reports, an about 150,000-strong Russian army stands at the borders of our friend and neighbour Ukraine. This is not a military exercise or a strategic game. No, it is a threat of war, of the kind the world has not seen in decades.”

„Vladimir Putin has thrown down the gauntlet not only to Ukraine, but to the entire world and it is us who will decide whether we can repel the attack,” Morawiecki also said in his message.

He added: “The last few days have brought a little hope that Vladimir Putin will change his actions. We all wish for this to happen, but we don’t have certainty.”

Morawiecki stated that every step back by Russia would be a step forward for the West, “a triumph of those who were united and determined from the start.” 

“This is a great test of our solidarity. We must testify to the fact that we stand united and that we will not allow the sovereignty of any European nation to be undermined,” he said.

’Secure Europe needs sovereign Ukraine’

“We all realise that a secure Europe needs a sovereign Ukraine and a free and sovereign Ukraine needs the solidarity of the West,” Morawiecki added, extending thanks to US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“Both of these leaders stood shoulder to shoulder with Poland, not surrendering to Putin’s blackmail but defending Western values,” he said, while also mentioning „the key role of NATO” in the diplomatic offensive. 

“The West has made it clear that it is ready to defend its allies,” Morawiecki stressed.

He argued that „this unified front, standing for freedom and solidarity,” would not have been possible without Polish President Andrzej Duda.

“It was his personal engagement which helped to raise the awareness of what may happen,” Morawiecki said.

He added that “the more united we are, the greater our chance to avoid war.”

“Therefore, regardless of the actions taken by Vladimir Putin in the upcoming days, our solidarity with Ukraine must remain firm,” Morawiecki stated.

He went on to say: „Russia must know that we will not turn a blind eye to its aggression. Every infringement of Ukraine’s sovereignty will be met with very severe Western sanction.”

He concluded: “Poland will always stand on the side of Ukraine, for Poland will always stand on the side of freedom.

A day earlier, Morawiecki called on the West to provide weapons to Ukraine amid the danger of Russian invasion.

He told reporters in Brussels on Thursday: “If support for Ukraine is to be meaningful, it must comprise a financial package as well as various commodities and goods, including support in the form of weapons.”

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP, niezalezna.pl

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