Polish finance chief Tadeusz Koscinski has blasted Brussels over the lack of EU support for Poland’s refugee effort. Coming amid a time of high tensions between Poland and the EU, Mr Koscinski told Express.co.uk the bloc was offering his country only “virtual medals” when what really is needed is funds to help the millions of Ukrainian refugees who have moved to Poland since Russia invaded in February.
Mr Koscinski told Express.co.uk: “The EU is another one that is patting us in the back saying well done and here’s the virtual medal on the chest that’s awarded.
“But we require money, we require money not for ourselves but for the poor refugees that are in our country to help them live here.
“So I think Ukraine is being punished by the EU because the EU has a negative attitude towards Poland.
“At this stage, we should get rid of politics and start being pragmatic about what is required.”
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It comes as Ukraine’s prime minister warned Russia is trying to pressure Europe by creating a mass exodus of Ukrainian refugees like the one early in the war.
Russia began hitting the Ukrainian power grid and other critical infrastructure in early October, successive waves of cruise missiles and exploding drones have destroyed about half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, the Kyiv government has said.
Moscow says its military aim in destroying infrastructure is weakening Ukraine’s ability to defend itself and disrupting flows of Western weapons to the country it attacked in February.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky argued that a concerted international effort to keep Ukraine’s utility systems working could help dissuade Moscow from further attacks and potentially force it to the negotiating table, as well as prevent more Ukrainians from fleeing.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think someone in Brussels has got the rule book and they go look this is the problem, this is rule number one this is what you should do.
“They should look at the bigger context, we have a war going on. We have a couple of million refugees coming into Poland.
“The war caused energy prices to soar through the roof, and the EU Commission has said that we have to put back the VAT at the rates that we had before the war started.
“I think they should add another couple of lines to the rule books and say but if there’s a war going on, the rulebook gets thrown out the window, we can’t recover. We can’t live according to some sort of rule book.”