Polish PM appeals for total EU ban on trade with Russia

Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called for tougher sanctions on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine and urged the European Union to impose a total ban on trade with Russia.

Poland is proposing to add a trade blockade to this package of sanctions as soon as possible, both for seaports – a ban on entering Russian-flagged ships with Russian goods – but also a ban on land trade,” Morawiecki told a press conference during his visit to Telesystem-Mesko, Poland’s ammunition and rockets R&D centre in Lubiczów near Warsaw on Saturday.

“The matter concerns the life and death of tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people, it concerns a sovereign country – Ukraine – but also NATO security,” stressed the Prime Minister, adding that failure to show strength and determination towards Russia would later result in grave consequences.

Asked whether Poland would appeal to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) for help at the border, PM Morawiecki explained that while the daily number of refugees crossing the border has decreased from 140,000-150,000 to 30,000-40,000, it is still a vast number of people, while Frontex has only about 1,000 officers. “It is Poland’s Border Guard, police, Territorial Defence Force, expeditionary force, and first and foremost the Polish people who have come to aid,” he stated, adding that “we have excelled at organising aid on the level of state government, local governments and NGOs.”

The Prime Minister spoke about the international response to Poland’s efforts to aid Ukraine. “The world sees and appreciates it. Every day I receive several phone calls, text messages, emails and signals from all over the world praising Poland in a way which had not happened since the days of the Solidarity movement in September 1980,” said Mr Morawiecki.

“The world considers it an incredible, unprecedented phenomenon that Poles have accepted two million people into their country without having to set up refugee camps, like Germany, France or Italy did. I am wholeheartedly grateful to all Poles, organisations, parishes, churches and state officials for this excellent cooperation in such circumstances.”