Deputy FM calls on Germany to halt Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

A Polish deputy foreign minister has said Warsaw expects Germany to halt the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in support for sanctions on Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday recognising the self-declared 'people's republics' of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine as independent states, and there are now reports that Russian troops have entered eastern Ukraine.

"We expect an unambiguous position and actions from our German partners," Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek wrote on Twitter. "Stop Nord Stream 2 and support sanctions immediately."

The pipeline, which takes Russian gas to Germany, has been regarded by Poland as threat to European security. The Poles argue that it increases Moscow's influence in Europe while at the same time increasing German dependence on Russian gas.

Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, called on Monday for an urgent sitting of the European Council.

"Vladimir Putin's decision is an act of aggression against Ukraine, which demands an unambiguous, decisive and immediate response in the form of sanctions by the EU; it is also a serious threat to the whole continent," Morawiecki wrote in a letter to European Council President Charles Michel.