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21 Mar, 2022 09:52

Poland wants to confiscate Russian-owned property

The country’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki suggested a law allowing confiscation of real estate and shares
Poland wants to confiscate Russian-owned property

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has proposed the confiscation of Russian-owned properties, as part of broad sanctions in response to Moscow's attack on Ukraine.

“We want to raise the issue of how Poland could freeze and confiscate Russian assets in our country,” Morawiecki told Sunday’s Wprost magazine. “On the one hand, we have constitutional limitations for actions related to property rights. And, on the other hand, more and more Poles don't understand why, if Italians confiscate the yachts of Russian oligarchs, we can't do the same in our country.”

Morawiecki added that “there is some real estate, and financial assets, the shares in companies that we should seize.”

The prime minister said he plans to work to have the new law passed in the Sejm, the lower house of the country's parliament.

Morawiecki, who met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week, has been calling for a total economic blockade of Russia and for Europe to completely relinquish energy supplies from Moscow. “I appeal to the German, the French and Benelux elites to put aside their calculators and start using their consciences. Because if we’re calculating the cost of gas and oil, it means we’re dealing in the blood of Ukrainian children, women and soldiers,” the prime minister said.

Italian media reported this month that the authorities seized a superyacht owned by Russian coal and fertilizer tycoon Igor Melnichenko in the port of Trieste. Similar actions against luxury vessels owned by wealthy Russians were reported in France, Germany and Spain.

Many countries, including the US, UK, EU member states, and Canada, have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia, hitting its banks and trade, among other sectors.

The majority of European countries have closed their airspace to Russia-linked flights, to which Moscow has responded in kind. A long list of global companies and brands announced that they were limiting their operations in Russia or leaving the country’s market altogether.

Moscow attacked its neighbor in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.

Russia has now 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 had been planning to retake the two republics by force.