Polish foreign minister pushes for more sanctions on Russia

Speaking at a joint press conference, Rau (R) said that the sixth package of sanctions that the EU adopted last week was "an important step towards Europe's independence from Russian energy resources." Marcin Obara/PAP

The European Union must start working on the seventh package of sanctions on Russia which should include a total ban on imports of Russian gas and petrochemical products, Zbigniew Rau, the Polish foreign minister, has said.

Rau made the call after a meeting with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg, in Warsaw on Tuesday.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Rau said that the sixth package of sanctions that the EU adopted last week was "an important step towards Europe's independence from Russian energy resources."

The EU decided to introduce a near-total ban on Russian oil, with exceptions for a few member states which are heavily dependent on imports from Russia.

"However, this is not enough, we need to start working on the seventh package of sanctions which should comprise, among other things, a total ban on imports of Russian gas and petrochemical products and the expulsion of all Russian and Belarusian banks from the Swift (inter-bank payment) system," Rau said.

Schallenberg said that his country was dependent on Russian gas, but added Austria was "not happy" about it.

"Certainly, we won't be able to solve this problem immediately," he said. "Countries with no access to the sea are in a particularly difficult situation, but we'll present our stance openly at the European level," he said.

"The EU's most important capital is its unity as we jointly prepare packages of sanctions," he also said. "Let's remember that Moscow is watching us and we must maintain a joint European policy, a joint European front."