Polish President Andrzej Duda called for increasing sanctions pressure on Russia and limiting Gazprom’s opportunities in the European Union on the eve of a meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss steps against Russia because of the situation around Alexei Navalny.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Duda called talk of tougher sanctions “absolutely justified,” given the reunification of Crimea with Russia as well.
“The only way to do this without rifles, guns, and bombs is with sanctions. Therefore, we are ready to help work out a consensus on this issue,” said the Polish president.
In this regard, the Polish president proposed to act through pressure on Gazprom, a proposal made against the background of discussions on the idea of stopping the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline because of the Navalny situation, as stated in the European Parliament resolution adopted last Thursday. The U.S., which aims to supply Europe with its liquefied natural gas, also insists on the need for the EU to abandon Nord Stream 2.
“I think if we limit Gazprom’s ability to operate economically in the EU, especially in terms of entering into new (agreements) on investments, then the situation with things like respect for international law and human and political rights in Russia will start to move forward because that would be a serious step in the sphere of Russian economic interests,” he said.
Russia’s main partner for Nord Stream 2 in the European Union, Germany, continues to insist that the pipeline must be built, Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed this last Thursday, January 21. On Sunday, Johann Saathoff, Germany’s coordinator for Russia, stated the same position. In an interview with Saarbrücker Zeitung, he spoke out against new sanctions against Russia and called not to link the fate of Nord Stream-2 to the arrest of Alexei Navalny.
In addition to Poland, at least two EU countries have spoken out in favor of sanctions on the eve of the ministerial meeting: the French and Czech foreign ministers made relevant statements.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier advised foreign politicians commenting on the Navalny situation to respect international law, and to deal with the problems of their own countries. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that Western politicians’ statements on this issue were “identical. In turn, presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov noted that the Kremlin has no intention of listening to foreign statements about Navalny.