Germany is main opponent of sanctions on Russia says justice minister

Albert Zawada/PAP

Zbigniew Ziobro, Poland's justice minister, has claimed Germany is the main opponent of tough sanctions on Russia while Hungary is made out to be the "scapegoat."

Ziobro told a Catholic broadcaster on Tuesday: "We are all aware that... Germany is the main blocker of the sanctions on Russia."

He said that although Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, was often made the "scapegoat" by mainstrean circles, it was actually Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, who had blocked the imposition of harsher sanctions on Russia.

Ziobro pointed out that Orban, unlike Scholz, "declared that if there was a common EU decision, he would not block any such decision."

"It was Chancellor Scholz who blocked it," added Ziorbo, who is also leader of Solidary Poland, a junior member of Poland's governing coalition.

Ziobro was referring to a ban on Russian oil and gas, which he said the entire EU must take apply if it was to make sense.

He also said Scholz had initially agreed to cut Russian banks off from the Swift payment system but later said something "completely different."

"So, again, it was Germany and not the Hungarians, who did not keep their word," he said. "It was Germany, not Hungary, that imposed this energy policy on the EU in recent years."

Poland's government sees Viktor Orban as an ideological ally in its struggles with the EU. Both the Polish and Hungarian governments have been accused by the EU of undermining democracy and are subject to infringement proceedings by Brussels.