Polish overseas coverage, preoccupied till the conflict in Ukraine with efforts to kind a bloc of like-minded conservative and infrequently pro-Kremlin European populists who share its hostility to Brussels, is now working to cement a brand new bloc of European international locations pushing for more durable sanctions in opposition to Russia, together with the Baltic states and the Czech Republic.

At a gathering of European overseas ministers this week in Brussels, Poland joined Lithuania and different international locations on Europe’s jap fringe which have an extended and painful expertise of Russian aggression in lobbying arduous for a ban on oil imports from Russia. The hassle failed in face of robust opposition from Germany, the Netherlands and others, nevertheless it put Warsaw on the heart of an rising bloc of countries decided to punish Mr. Putin for invading Ukraine.

It has additionally sundered Poland’s shut partnership with Hungary, which opposes additional sanctions and whose proudly intolerant prime minister, Viktor Orban, shares the Polish governing celebration’s view on Brussels however has an extended report of cozying as much as the Kremlin.

Sophie Pornschlegel, a senior coverage analyst on the Brussels-based European Coverage Heart, stated the Polish authorities was utilizing the disaster for its personal profit. Regardless of Poland making no actual adjustments to insurance policies that put it on a collision course with Brussels, she stated, the European Fee, the bloc’s government arm, is prone to be “moderately lenient as a result of Poland’s place welcoming so many refugees.”

Poland’s shift, and significantly its welcoming of refugees, has been greeted warmly by many within the European Union.

In early March, Mr. Michel, the president of the European Council, a robust physique that finally decides the bloc’s path however that has steadily struggled to search out unity due to Poland and Hungary, visited Rzeszow, a Polish metropolis close to the border with Ukraine, together with the Polish prime minister.

“I want to commend you, pricey Prime Minister Mateusz, your staff, and the Polish folks,” Mr. Michel gushed.


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