WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland announced steps Wednesday to end all Russian oil imports by the end of 2022, as Germany issued a warning over natural gas supplies and called on consumers to conserve energy in a sign of escalating economic tensions in Europe over Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Poland has already largely reduced its dependence on Russian oil, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.
Morawiecki told a news conference that Poland was launching the most radical plan among European nations to wean off Russian energy sources.
Poland said Tuesday it was banning imports of Russian coal. Morawiecki said he expects coal imports will be ended in May.
Morawiecki says Poland will take steps to become “independent” of Russian supplies and is calling on other European Union countries to “walk away” from Russia fossil fuels. Poland argues that money from oil and gas exports are fueling Russia’s war machine and that that should stop.
Morawiecki called on the European Commission to impose tax on all hydrocarbons imported from Russia to make trade “just.”
Poland has been taking strides to cut reliance on Russian gas. A liquid gas terminal was built in Swinoujscie and is being expanded now, receiving deliveries from Qatar, the U.S., Norway and other exporters. A new, Baltic pipeline bringing gas from Norway is to open at the end of this year.
In Germany, the government issued an early warning over natural gas supplies and called on consumers to save energy amid concerns that Russia could cut off deliveries unless it is paid in rubles.
Western nations have rejected the Russian demand for ruble payments, arguing it would undermine the sanctions imposed against Moscow over the war in Ukraine. Economy Minister Robert Habeck said the move was a precautionary measure as, so far, Russia is still fulfilling its contracts. But he appealed to companies and households in Germany to start reducing their gas consumption.