Poland wants to stop Russian coal imports immediately, PM says

Marcin Bielecki/PAP

Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, has said that Poland wants to stop importing Russian coal, effective immediately, and may get coal from Australia instead.

"I talked about it today with the Prime Minister of Australia... to transport coal to Poland from there," Morawiecki said on Wednesday.

He added that Poland was ready to introduce an embargo on Russian coal "at any time."

"We only need assurance from the European Commission that it will not penalise us for this step... and then we will be prepared to introduce an embargo on Russian coal," Morawiecki said. He explained that the implementation of the embargo was a decision regarding international trade and was a competence that had been transferred to the European Commission.

In 2021, the share of coal and lignite in Poland's energy mix dropped to below 65 percent. In H1 2021, Poland imported 6.2 million tonnes of coal, including 4 million tonnes from Russia and 1.15 million tonnes from Australia.

Earlier, he met with President of the European Council Charles Michel at the Rzeszow-Jasionka Airport in south-eastern Poland.

Morawiecki told a press conference that his talks with Michel covered many aspects of the Russian aggression against Ukraine as well as sanctions that should be imposed on the aggressor.

"A blockade on various types of hydrocarbons from Russia - oil, gas and coal - should be part of the sanctions package," he said. "I am calling once again for the European Commission to decide on an embargo on Russian coal."

According, the Polish prime minister, sanctions on Russia must be "as far-reaching as possible, in order to stop the Russian war machine... in order to be able to talk about a return to peace," Morawiecki said.

Morawiecki said that the topics of his talks with Michel also included the need to help people who come to Poland from Ukraine. He said that Poland is already providing such assistance "from the logistic, operational, financial and humanitarian side, in every respect."