Poland to inquire about gaps in EU sanctions against Russia, Belarus

Sadoś said Poland intends to ask the EC why the draft does not include a ban on imports of Russian diamonds. Olivier Hoslet/PAP/EPA

Poland will ask the European Commission (EC) why the next package of EU sanctions against Russia does not include diamonds and restrictions against Belarus for supporting Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Polish ambassador to the EU has told PAP.

The EC has submitted a draft of the 11th package of EU sanctions against Russia. It envisages extending restrictions to other persons and entities involved in Russia's aggression against Ukraine, including the abduction of Ukrainian children to Russia. According to the draft, Chinese companies are to be sanctioned for helping Russia in the war.

"The EC draft partially responds to Polish demands regarding further sanctions, including imposing them on persons responsible for illegal deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia, on judges sentencing dissidents in political trials, on propagandists," Andrzej Sadoś said.

But, he added, Poland intends to ask the EC why the draft does not include a ban on imports of Russian diamonds.

Poland will also ask about the price cap for Russian oil, "which was to be lowered first in mid-January and then in mid-March. However, this did not happen," Sadoś said.

"We will certainly raise the issue of imports of Russian agricultural products because we see no justification for these imports at a time when we are dealing with surplus imports from Ukraine," he added.

"We will also ask a question about sanctions against Belarus, which is today the biggest loophole in the sanctions system," the ambassador said.

"The sanctions imposed on Belarus are for fraudulent elections, repressions, the hijacking of a plane, but so far, despite repeated Polish appeals, the EU has not adopted sanctions against Minsk for direct and indirect participation in the Russian aggression against Ukraine, for recent repressions against civil society, the media, Poles and Lithuanians," he explained.

Sadoś warned that Poland would not agree to any loosening of the existing sanctions against Belarus such as the removal of the previously adopted restrictions on imports of certain fertilisers.

"There is no shortage of potash fertilisers anywhere in the world. Belarusian potash has been replaced by production in African countries or Canada. Under the pretext of food security, we cannot agree to unfreezing the assets of oligarchs who are involved in trade in food or fertilizers," he said.

Talks on the matter are to take place in Brussels on Wednesday.