Poland welcomes US sanctions against Russia
PR dla Zagranicy
Warsaw has welcomed the US president's decision to sign into law tougher new sanctions against Russia, which are in Poland's “strategic interest”, the Polish foreign ministry has said.
Donald Trump. Photo: EPA/Zach Gibson.
The new laws hit crucial sectors of the Russian economy, including weapons sales and energy exports, and require US President Donald Trump to consult with Congress before lifting or easing sanctions.
The new sanctions against Russia could also hit companies invested in the Nord Stream II project, a planned gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, circumventing Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states. It would double Russia’s capacity of 55 billion cubic metres of gas currently being sent through the existing Nord Stream pipeline.
The Polish foreign ministry has said that slowing Nord Stream II “is consistent with the strategic interest of Poland and the Central and Eastern Europe region” and could mean “greater diversification of energy supplies to the European Union”.
But the European Union opposed the new sanctions. A number of European energy companies, from Germany, France, Italy and elsewhere, are invested in Nord Stream II and other Russian energy projects.
Until now, Brussels and Washington had been in sync in their stance on Russia, with EU leaders and then-President Barack Obama deciding on the first sanctions together.
The US initially implemented sanctions against Russia after Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014.
According to the United Nations, 10,000 people have died since conflict erupted in the Donbas region in April 2014 – following Russia’s annexation of Crimea – and a further 1.6 million have been displaced.
But some US media reports suggest tougher sanctions – passed by both houses of US Congress last week by an overwhelming and veto-proof majority – are retribution for Moscow's alleged meddling in 2016 US presidential elections and Donald Trump’s friendliness with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A Kremlin spokesman said Trump's signature “does not change anything”.
Moscow took retaliatory steps after Congress approved the sanctions last week.
Putin vowed to cut the number of US diplomats in Russia to 455 people, meaning 755 will have to go, according to the Washington Post, and limited America's access to warehouses and a recreational centre Moscow. (vb/pk)