Poland wants “broadest possible EU sanctions” against Russia, says Tusk

Prime Minister Donald Tusk says that Poland will “demand the broadest possible sanctions” against Russia – including an embargo on nuclear fuel and the transfer of frozen Russian assets to Ukraine – as the EU discusses a new set of measures against Moscow.

On Wednesday, diplomatic sources told Reuters that the European Commission was launching discussions with member states about a new package of sanctions, which would be the bloc’s 13th. It hopes to introduce them to mark the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

Speaking in Brussels on Thursday, Tusk confirmed that “of course, we have our own demands” for what should be included among the new sanctions, reports the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

“Poland has always been the country that has demanded the strongest possible sanctions against Russia,” said the prime minister, whose government took office in December and has continued its predecessor’s strong support for Ukraine.

“Whether I am an optimist or not, whether the demands of Poland and those of the other toughest countries will be met, I don’t want to predict,” he added. “But Poland will certainly demand the broadest possible set of sanctions in this new package.”

Polska chce, by 13.pakiet sankcji wobec Rosji był możliwie jak najbardziej obszerny – mówi premier D.Tusk. A zatem, by obejmował także restrykcje gospodarcze. Konfesjonały ws najnowszych sankcji KE organizuje w weekend, Polska zaproszona na niedzielę @PR24_pl https://t.co/zmfjRw6Gbj

— Beata Płomecka (@bplomecka) February 1, 2024

Tusk said that this could include an embargo on fuel from Russia for nuclear power plants, but he admitted that this is “not that simple” to implement because many Western countries are “somewhat dependent” on Russia for such material.

The prime minister added that Poland would “continue to press” for frozen Russian assets to be transferred to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, both Reuters and PAP cite diplomatic sources saying that Poland and the three Baltic states have jointly prepared proposals for the new round of EU sanctions, including a ban on the import of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) and aluminium.

PAP reports that the plans also include bans on various forms of scientific cooperation and funding involving Russia, tighter sanctions in the aviation sector, and further measures to combat the circumvention of sanctions by Moscow, in particular through Belarus.

Polish exports to Kyrgyzstan have boomed since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Kyrgyzstan is seen as a route to bypass sanctions on Moscow and many Western countries have increased exports, with Poland and Germany having the largest figures.

See our full report: https://t.co/g4z6Ttuykj pic.twitter.com/0ev7lkyj4w

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) January 24, 2024

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Main image credit: KPRM (under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 PL)

Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign PolicyPOLITICO EuropeEUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

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