Polish leaders call for harsh sanctions against Russia over Ukraine

Poland’s president and prime minister on Tuesday urged the West to impose far-reaching sanctions on Russia for its aggression against Ukraine.

Polands President Andrzej Duda (centre), Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (second right), Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński (second left), Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak (left) and Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński (right) speak to the media after their meeting in Warsaw on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda (centre), Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (second right), Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński (second left), Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak (left) and Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński (right) speak to the media after their meeting in Warsaw on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Ukraine.PAP/Radek Pietruszka

The appeals came after President Andrzej Duda convened a high-level meeting on the situation in Ukraine, the state PAP news agency reported.

Participants included Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, senior government ministers and security officials, according to PAP. 

The meeting was held in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognise two breakaway areas in eastern Ukraine as independent.

Immediately afterwards, Putin sent Russian troops to the two separatist regions to carry out what the Kremlin described as “peacekeeping functions.”

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with senior government officials on Tuesday, Duda said the most important thing was “to stand with Ukraine.”

He stressed that both the European Union and NATO “must maintain unity.” He added: “Our position is that serious sanctions are needed” against Russia.

The president said that both he and Morawiecki would hold “a flurry of consultations” over the coming days, both within NATO and the EU.

“We need to do all we can to stop an invasion of Ukraine,” Duda told reporters.

‘You don’t do business with aggressors’: Polish PM

Meanwhile, the Polish prime minister said: “You don’t do normal business with aggressors, with those who violate international law, the sovereignty of other countries, in this case, the sovereignty of Ukraine.”

He added that sanctions against Russia should target Moscow’s “natural-resources policy.”

His remarks came amid reports that, in response to Moscow’s move, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz decided to pull the plug on Nord Stream 2, the controversial 1,200 km pipeline designed to carry natural gas directly from Russia to Germany.

Poland’s deputy prime minister in charge of security, Jarosław Kaczyński, stated that “Poland must be secure and Ukraine must be saved,” the PAP news agency reported. 

“Such are the strategic interests of Poland and Europe,” said Kaczyński, who is the leader of Poland’s ruling conservatives.

Meanwhile, the country’s top diplomat Zbigniew Rau held talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels about the „situation in and around Ukraine” and „NATO’s reaction to Russia’s actions in the region.

Afterwards, the Polish foreign minister told reporters that Putin’s move represented “yet another flagrant departure from the principles of international law.”

Rau said: “Violation of Ukraine’s integrity, coupled with military pressure, is leading to the collapse of the current security infrastructure.”

EU sanctions to be adopted on Tuesday

The EU’s foreign ministers were set to adopt sanctions against Russia at a special meeting in Paris later on Tuesday.

The measures were expected to target specific people responsible for Russia’s recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine as independent, PAP reported, citing a diplomatic source in the bloc.

The sanctions would also freeze the EU’s economic relations with the two breakaway areas, according to PAP.  

“If a political decision is made at the meeting in Paris today, then the ambassadors of the member states will formally adopt the sanctions at a session in Brussels,” the PAP source was quoted as saying.

Russian forces 'violated Ukraine’s borders’: Polish defence minister

Meanwhile, Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak on Tuesday reiterated the country’s call for severe sanctions against Russia.

In an interview with public broadcaster Polish Radio, Błaszczak said: “We expect serious, not symbolic sanctions against Russia, because only such measures can stop the resurrection of the Russian empire.”

He added: “We can confirm that Russian forces have entered the territory of the self-proclaimed ‘republics,’ and so in fact they have violated Ukraine’s borders.”

(pm/gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters   

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