Poland breaks ranks with EU to pull rug from under Putin with new law to BAN coal imports

Zelensky urges West to do more on sanctions and military aid

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Poland, which was the 2nd largest importer of Russian coal in the EU behind Germany, said it cannot wait any longer for an EU-level decision, acknowledging that the ban “may be legally questionable”. According to government spokesperson Piotr Müller, the decision was taken for national security reasons. The country has been calling for an EU-wide ban on imports of Russian gas, coal and oil since the start of Putin’s invasion.

During the EU leaders’ summit last week, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the country would be ready to do so “almost immediately”.

However, some member states – such as Germany – objected to the move.

Speaking about the ban in a statement, Mr Muller said: “We don’t want these imports to be possible any longer, although we realise that there’s a risk related to the fact that the European Union has not approved such actions to date.

“We do realize that this might be legally questionable. These doubts are justified but we can’t keep on waiting for the reaction of the EU.

“I admit with regret that the EU hasn’t decided on such a measure.”

Russian coal represents about 20 percent of Poland’s domestic use, with 9.4 million tonnes being imported to the country in 2020.

Poland also imports around 50 percent of its gas and 60 per cent of its oil from Russia.

According to Mr Muller, the Polish government plans to announce further detailed plans to eliminate all Russian energy from Polish imports later this week.

Moscow responded to the announcement, saying that “relations with Poland are moving toward zero”, European news outlet Visegrad24 reported.

EU sanctions are legally required to be agreed upon by the whole trading bloc.

The EU has so far opted to gradually reduce dependency on Russian gas, agreeing on a deadline of 2027 to phase out the imports entirely.

Speaking after an emergency summit of EU leaders, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “By mid-May we will come up with a proposal to phase out our dependency on Russian gas, oil and coal by 2027, backed by the necessary national and European resources.”

Meanwhile, Frans Timmermans, EU climate policy chief, said that Europe could reduce Russian imports by two-thirds by the end of this year.

He said: “Two thirds by the end of this year.

“It’s hard, bloody hard but it’s possible if we’re willing to go further and faster than we’ve done before.”

The UK has also agreed to phase out Russian imports of oil, which account for 8 percent of total UK oil demand, by the end of this year.

Boris Johnson said: “In another economic blow to the Putin regime following their illegal invasion of Ukraine, the UK will move away from dependence on Russian oil throughout this year, building on our severe package of international economic sanctions.

“Working with industry, we are confident that this can be achieved over the course of the year, providing enough time for companies to adjust and ensuring consumers are protected.”

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