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West slaps new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine as Polish PM urges 'strong and united' response

25.02.2022 00:30
The European Union, the United States and Britain on Thursday imposed new sanctions to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. 
Polands Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki arrives for an emergency European Union (EU) summit on the situation in Ukraine at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, 24 February 2022.
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki arrives for an emergency European Union (EU) summit on the situation in Ukraine at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, 24 February 2022.PAP/EPA/JOHN THYS

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was among the EU leaders who agreed on a new set of sanctions at an emergency summit in Brussels on Thursday evening, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Before the meeting, Morawiecki urged the bloc to “act swiftly” to punish Russia for its attack on Ukraine, which was launched in the early hours of Thursday morning. 

He added: “We have to be very strong and united, and we have to reply in an appropriate way.”   

EU leaders announce fresh sanctions against Russia 

EU leaders announced new measures against Moscow, hitting its economy and elites in response to President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, the Reuters news agency reported.

The EU will freeze Russian assets in the bloc, halting banks' access to European financial markets, officials said.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, described the package as "the harshest package of sanctions we have ever implemented."

It will also target Russia's trade, energy and transport, among other sectors, and impose export controls, according to Reuters.

Earlier on Thursday, Poland's Morawiecki told the parliament in Warsaw: “Today, it must be emphasised that Ukraine is fighting not only for its own independence and freedom, but also for the freedom of the whole of Europe.”

He offered assurances to Ukrainians that Poland "will not desert" them, the PAP news agency reported.

Earlier, Polish lawmakers unanimously passed a resolution to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Polish president calls for ‘very severe’ sanctions against Moscow

On Thursday evening, Polish President Andrzej Duda made a televised address to the nation in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Calling the aggression “a turning point for the Western community,” Duda appealed for a “tough response” and “very severe sanctions” against Moscow.

The president declared that Poland “stands in solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.” 

He also called for unity, stressing: “We must not let ourselves be antagonised, we must not let ourselves be divided, we must not let ourselves be deceived” in the face of Russian propaganda and disinformation. 

Duda said that the people of Ukraine were “standing up for the freedom of all Europeans” and could count on Poland’s “full support.”

The president also told the public that the Polish military was ready “to ensure the security of the country's borders.”

“Long live free, independent, democratic Ukraine! Long live Poland!” the Polish head of state concluded.   

Afterwards, Duda and Poland's Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau met with Ukraine’s top diplomat Dmytro Kuleba, reiterating Poland’s support for its eastern neighbour.

Biden unveils new sanctions against Russia

US President Joe Biden on Thursday laid out new sanctions against Russia in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the broadcaster CNN reported.

“We have purposefully designed these sanctions to maximise a long-term impact on Russia and to minimise the impact on the United States and our allies," he said.

“The United States is not doing this alone,” Biden added, telling reporters that the 27 EU members and G7 members would participate in the punitive package.

Biden said that the measures would limit Russia's ability to be part of the global economy and to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen, while also stopping its ability to finance and grow its military.

The sanctions will also impair Russia’s ability to compete in the high-tech 21st-century economy and target Russian banks that together hold around USD 1 trillion in assets, according to CNN.

Biden told reporters: "We're also blocking four more major banks. That means every asset they have in America will be frozen."

In an earlier Twitter message, Biden said he had agreed with fellow G7 leaders "to move forward on devastating packages of sanctions and other economic measures to hold Russia to account."

"We stand with the brave people of Ukraine," he added.

The US president also announced “the deployment of ground and air forces already stationed in Europe” to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania, CNN reported.

UK slaps ‘biggest ever’ sanctions on Moscow

Earlier on Thursday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new set of economic sanctions against Russia, describing them as “the largest ever” and promising they would “hobble” the Russian economy, news outlets reported.

Among the 10 measures taken immediately, London will freeze the assets of all major Russian banks including VTB, the country’s second-largest bank, and stop major Russian companies from raising finance in Britain, according to the Reuters news agency.

The individuals targeted by the second wave of sanctions include Kirill Shamalov, Putin's once son-in-law, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, US troops based in Poland prepared to move closer to the border with Ukraine to help with an influx of Americans and other nationals fleeing the Russian invasion, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing defence and US officials.

There are also about 800 troops at the G2 Arena exhibition centre in Jasionka near Rzeszów, about 70 miles from Poland's border with Ukraine, the WSJ said.

The arena could serve as a makeshift shelter and reception centre. US forces have set up beds at the arena, officials told reporters.

Poland earlier announced it was  prepared to take in large groups of refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Also on Thursday, Poland’s foreign ministry said the country’s embassy in Kyiv and consulate in Lviv would continue to operate amid the Russian invasion, while other diplomatic outposts in Ukraine would temporarily suspend their services, according to the PAP news agency.  


Source: PAP, IAR, TVP Info, Reuters, wsj.com, cnn.com