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Russia faces more sanctions – Poland

A new round of EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine is already being developed, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski said on Saturday.

Asked by the Polish Press Agency if the next round of sanctions was in the works, Jablonski replied: “Of course.”

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Jablonski added that the EU should confiscate frozen Russian assets and use them for Ukraine’s defense and recovery. “The work on the matter is already underway.”

The diplomat argued that more Russian banks, such as Gazprombank, should be removed from the SWIFT global payment messaging system. Several banks, including Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, have already been cut off from SWIFT.

On Friday, Brussels unveiled its sixth sanctions package, which includes a ban on Russian oil delivered by sea. Such shipments represent 90% of the bloc’s total oil imports from Moscow. The move also allows Hungary, which is heavily reliant on Russian energy, to continue receiving Russian oil by pipeline.

Jablonski said Poland has been “putting very strong political and diplomatic pressure” on Hungary during the sanctions debate. He said that exemptions and carve-outs are what make the sixth package insufficient to affect Russia’s actions in Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin “could still spend money on the military and replenish resources on the frontline,” he said.

The diplomat further complained that companies are finding “creative ways” to bypass sanctions, which “undermines the credibility of the European Union.”

Russia attacked Ukraine in late February following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

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