Russia turned off the oil tap to Poland on Saturday without prior notice. This was announced by the Polish oil company PKN Orlen. "We are fully prepared for this. Only ten percent of crude oil comes from Russia, and we will replace it from other sources," CEO Daniel Obajtek wrote on Twitter. One could supply all refineries with tankers via the Baltic Sea, gasoline and diesel buyers would not be affected.
Political correspondent for Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, based in Warsaw.
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Government representatives did not initially comment. The Russian move came a day after the adoption of a new EU sanctions package against Russia and the arrival in Ukraine of the first Leopard 2 tanks delivered by Poland.
Poland had recently attracted negative attention in the European Union because, contrary to its promise, it continues to import considerable quantities of crude oil from Russia via the northern route of the Druzhba pipeline. The EU Commission had complained last week as a violation, as the F.A.Z. reported. Since then, it has returned to it in two further meetings, but Warsaw has not been prepared to relent.
Poland closes itself more strongly against Belarus
The Polish portal Oko.press, which is critical of the government, speculated that the oil blockade would make it easier for PKN Orlen to withdraw from the last supply contract with the Russian company Tatneft, which actually runs until 2024. Perhaps Moscow also wants to test Poland's resilience or drive up the price of oil on the world market by reducing production. Poland continued to purchase Russian oil because the EU sanctions imposed because of the war only applied to oil delivered by sea, but not to oil from pipelines. The refinery in Schwedt, Brandenburg, which was previously supplied via the Polish pipeline, has been supplied via the Baltic Sea ports of Rostock and Gdansk since January.
At the same time, Poland is sealing itself off more strongly against Russia and Belarus at its land borders. The army leadership announced on Thursday that an "engineering expansion" was underway there and showed pictures of tank hedgehogs and other roadblocks. Already on February 9, Warsaw had closed one of the border crossings with Belarus "in the interest of the security of the state" until further notice. This has often been interpreted as a response to the political trial of a correspondent of the Polish media in Belarus, Andrzej Poczobut; he had been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Subsequently, Belarus and Poland imposed further measures in the area of truck traffic in their respective neighbouring countries. An official Polish portal gave a waiting time of 67 hours in its "forecasts" for crossing the border for the only crossing to Belarus open to trucks on Sunday.