Situation in Ukraine an existential threat to Europe, Polish PM says

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks with the media as he arrives for the EU-Africa summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium February 17, 2022. Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WARSAW, March 1 (Reuters) - Russia's invasion of Ukraine is an existential threat to peace in Europe, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday.

Ukraine has received weapons shipments from NATO members to help withstand a military invasion unleashed by Russian forces last week, while the West has also introduced sweeping sanctions on the Russian economy.

"Today we focus on the situation in Ukraine, because it is an existential threat to peace in Europe," Morawiecki said after a meeting with European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels.

He said Poland wanted the strongest possible sanctions to be introduced against Russia, including a ban on the import of coal.

"I can declare we can introduce an embargo on Russian coal even tomorrow. We are ready for that, we just want to get the fastest possible consent from the European Commission," Morawiecki said, also calling for Europe to stop buying Russian gas and oil "in a perspective of months".

He also told reporters Poland proposed that sanctions should be imposed on Russia's ally, Belarus, as soon as possible and said the head of the Commission agreed with him.

Reporting by Anna Koper and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Editing by Jon Boyle and Chizu Nomiyama

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.