Poland sanctions Gazprom among 50 Russian firms and oligarchs

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Gazprom company is seen on the facade of a business centre in Saint Petersburg

WARSAW (Reuters) -Poland is imposing sanctions on 50 Russian oligarchs and companies, the interior minister said on Tuesday, as it seeks to increase pressure on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.Poland this month passed a law allowing it to freeze the assets of Russian entities and ban imports of coal from Russia, above and beyond sanctions imposed jointly by European Union countries.

Companies on the list released by the interior ministry include the energy giant Gazprom and the chemicals and fertiliser manufacturer Akron, as well as the coal trading companies SUEK Polska and KTK Polska. Gazprom has a minority stake in EuRoPol Gaz, an entity that owns the Polish section of the Yamal pipeline that carries Russian gas to Europe. Individuals on the list include billionaire Mikhail Fridman, co-founder and largest shareholder of Alfa Bank; aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska; and Eugene Kaspersky, founder of Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky.

“This is the first sanctions list … it has 50 items. There are oligarchs and companies that do real business (in Poland),” Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski told a news conference. “It is likely, almost certain, that this list will be widened.”

The sanctions include the freezing of assets and, for the individuals named, a ban on entering Poland.

Poland has consistently argued for tougher sanctions against Russia and has previously said it stop importing Russian coal by May and stop using Russian oil by the end of 2022.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West says this a false pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression by President Vladimir Putin.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish, Pawel Florkiewicz and Marek Strzelecki; Editing by Robert Birsel and Kevin Liffey)