Poland hopes for EU's toughest sanctions on Russia

Poland wants the EU to impose a tough new sanctions package on Russia, a Polish deputy foreign minister has said.

European Union countries are working on a tenth package of sanctions, but on Monday, Poland's Permanent Representative to the EU Andrzej Sados complained that the work had slowed down and recent consultations concerning new measures had failed to reach any decisive agreements.

On Wednesday, Pawel Jablonski, a deputy foreign minister, in an interview for PAP, said that the diplomatic process is underway and Poland hopes that the adopted package will be "as tight and as strict as possible".

Jablonski added the package should help block any loopholes being exploited by entities trying to dodge sanctions.

"Today we are focusing on tightening this process, which means that every entity involved in circumventing sanctions... will also be subject to these sanctions... this is what talks are currently about in Brussels," he said.

An EU source also told PAP that EU ambassadors on Wednesday green-lighted the extension of all EU economic sanctions imposed so far on Russia for another six months.

According to PAP sources, Polish diplomats have submitted to the European Commission and member states their suggestions for the tenth sanctions package, and one package targetting Belarus.

Warsaw's proposals include the suspension of nuclear fuel cooperation with Russia, a ban on imports of diamonds and rubber products from Russia, and a ban on furniture imports from Belarus.

Poland also wants Russian businesses to be excluded from the UER (Upstream Emission Reduction) system, which provides for trading in emission certificates for hydrocarbon extraction. Investments in mining infrastructure carried out by the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom allow for the sale of UER, which boosts Russia’s budget.

Warsaw also wants new sanctions on the financial sector, such as cutting off from the SWIFT system banks not covered by previous packages, including Gazprombank and Alfa Bank, and a ban on the transfer of dollars to Russia.

Poland has also proposed a ban on imports from Belarus to be extended to include furniture, asphalt and bituminous materials, rubber, glass products and cigarette filters.

Another sanction on Warsaw’s list is a ban on the transport of goods using semi-trailers registered in Belarus and Russia.