Polish gov't spokesman criticises Austria's stance on Russia sanctions

Paweł Supernak/PAP

The Polish government’s spokesman has denounced a call by the Austrian foreign minister to ease Western sanctions imposed on Moscow for invading Ukraine.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, at a meeting on Monday with his French counterpart, Catherine Colonna, criticised Poland's decision to refuse Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, permission to attend an OSCE meeting in Poland last year. According to media reports, Schallenberg also called for a loosening of European restrictions on Moscow.

But Piotr Mueller, the Polish government spokesman, told PAP on Thursday that "Poland maintains its stance on Russian sanctions."

According to Mueller, only consistent Western policy in this respect may force Moscow to change its course.

"Every attempt to close one's eyes to Russian crimes under the guise of returning to the normal functioning of economic relations is a huge mistake," he added.

"It was the very model of building ill-conceived links with Russia in energy policy that led to the war," Mueller said.

The refusal to grant a visa meant that Lavrov was unable to attend the OSCE Ministerial Council sitting in the city of Lodz last December.