Polish Briefing 3 February, 2023 10:00 am   
COMMENTS: Mateusz Gibała

Polish Briefing: Sanctions that will allow Poland to abandon Russian oil may eventually arrive

Orlen gas station. Picture by Orlen Orlen gas station. Picture by Orlen

What goes on in Poland on the 3rd of February.

Sanctions that will allow Poland to abandon Russian oil may eventually arrive

The EC President Ursula von der Leyen visited Kyiv with Commissioners and the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Joseph Borrell. The tenth package of EU sanctions against Russia is intended to plug holes and could clog the Friendship Oil Pipeline on the route to Poland.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and president of PKN Orlen Daniel Obajtek. Picture by the PM’s Chancellery.

The 10th package of EU sanctions against Russia could include the energy sector by banning cooperation with Rosatom and imports of Russian uranium. Thes proposals are advocated by Poland and Lithuania at the request of Ukraine, which is demanding consequences for Russia blackmailing them with a nuclear disaster at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.

The Ukrainian presidential group of experts proposes sanctions on the supply of unprocessed uranium from Russia, which was responsible for 5.5 percent of such supplies in 2021, personal sanctions against the leadership of Rosatom and TVEL, and a freeze on any new contracts with this Russian company. Such restrictions would not allow the Russians to abuse the dependence of the West on uranium processed by Russian companies, which we wrote about on Another idea is to limit Russia’s role in the International Atomic Energy Agency by depriving it of information about Ukraine’s nuclear installations provided to the agency and excluding it from the decision-making process.

The new package of restrictions may also cover the Druzhba Oil Pipeline or its northern thread. Since last year Poland and Germany have been calling for the northern section of the pipe to be sanctioned of which was first to inform. So far these efforts have failed, one of the reasons being Poles and Germans trying to secure oil supply after the Russian oil is no longer available, and the other the unclear future of the Schwedt refinery where Russia’s Rosneft Deutchland has shares that could be replaced with PKN Orlen’s. As of February 2023 Poland is to import 10 percent of its oil demand from Russia’s Tatneft on the basis of a contract that will last until the end of 2024. Orlen has declared it would drop the deal if appropriate sanctions are imposed.

On Friday, 3 February, the 24th EU-Ukraine summit will take place with the Commission and the High Representative. Europe wants to introduce a new package of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine before February 24, the anniversary of the attack that is part of the war that has been going on since the illegal annexation of Crimea in the spring of 2014.