Polish FM urges tougher sanctions on Russia, Belarus over Ukraine war

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Poland’s foreign minister has urged the European Union to strengthen sanctions against Russia and Belarus over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.  

Polands Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau (right) attends the European Unions Foreign Affairs Council, in Luxembourg, on Monday, October 17, 2022.

Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau (right) attends the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council, in Luxembourg, on Monday, October 17, 2022.Twitter/Polish Foreign Ministry

Zbigniew Rau made the appeal at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

The get-together, officially known as the Foreign Affairs Council, focused on current EU issues and the bloc’s support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s war of aggression, officials said.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed the meeting via video link from a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The bloc’s top diplomats discussed the establishment of an EU training mission for Ukrainian troops with headquarters in Poland, reporters were told. 

Another important topic was EU-China relations, including economic cooperation, according to officials.

Sanctions

Rau told reporters afterwards that he had urged EU colleagues on behalf of the Polish government “to synchronise sanctions imposed on Belarus and on Russia.”

He added: “Given Belarus’ current stance, it is in fact a party to this conflict and it’s hard to imagine the sanctions being directed only against Russia.”

The Polish foreign minister said he had also called on the EU “to tighten the sanctions regime on Moscow and Minsk, extend the punitive measures to include dual-use chemical and electronic products … and confiscate frozen Russian wealth to fund the postwar reconstruction of Ukraine,” the IAR news agency reported.

EU military assistance mission for Ukraine

The bloc’s foreign ministers approved the creation of a „training scheme” for Ukrainian troops, called the EU Military Assistance Mission (EUMAM), reporters were told.  

Rau hailed the decision, telling the briefing: “The decision to launch a Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine has a great importance for Ukraine, the European Union and Poland.”

He added: “Poland is ready to be a solid host of the EUMAM. Hopefully as many EU countries as possible will join the mission.”

The EUMAM is expected to initially train up to 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers, a large majority of them in Poland, where the mission’s operational headquarters will also be located, the IAR news agency reported.

Iran denies supplying kamikaze drones to Russia

Poland’s top diplomat also told reporters that the EU would investigate if the “kamikaze” drones used by Russia to strike civilian targets in Ukraine had been made and supplied by Iran, a claim that Teheran has denied, according to officials in Brussels.

On Monday alone, Russia attacked downtown Kyiv with 28 drones, killing at least four people, including a pregnant woman, the Ukrainska Pravda website reported. 

Rau said: “We have practically reached an agreement that if the drones turn out to be Iranian, then sanctions should be imposed.”  

(pm/gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, gov.plconsilium.europa.eupravda.com ua

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