Poland PM Demands More of Germany as Refugee Numbers Increase

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called on Germany to put aside "selfishness" and do more for Ukraine as the country continues to put up strong resistance to a Russian invasion.

Morawiecki called on Germany to abandon what he described as "egoism" before a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda in Berlin on Saturday.

Poland is grappling with an influx of refugees as a result of the crisis in Ukraine, with the government reporting that 100,000 Ukrainians have crossed into Poland since the invasion began on Thursday.

"I came to Berlin to shake the conscience of Germany so that they would finally decide on truly harsh sanctions that will influence the Kremlin's decisions," Morawiecki said.

"We need to shut down Nord Stream 1 and 2, we need to cut reliance on raw materials, cut off Russian financial institutions from capital markets, confiscate assets of oligarchs, close off SWIFT for Russia," he said.

"All sanctions against Russia should be on the table," he added.

The prime minister also said: "Nothing is going to stop Putin if we are not decisive enough."

"This is a very historic moment… we have no time to lose," Morawiecki said.

The Polish leader also criticized Germany for the aid it has already given to Ukraine. Germany has been resisting sending weapons and ammunition to Ukraine but Berlin said it would send the Ukrainian government 5,000 helmets and a field hospital.

"What kind of help was delivered to Ukraine? Five thousand helmets? This must be a joke," Morawiecki said on Saturday.

The German government's decision to effectively block arms being sent to Ukraine has frustrated some of its European allies. The country maintains legal control over arms that were wholly or partly manufactured by German companies and has refused to allow shipments of those arms to Ukraine.

The prime minister's comments come as Poland's Deputy Interior Minister Pawel Szefernaker told reporters on Saturday about the huge influx of Ukrainians entering the country since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

"From the onset of warfare in Ukraine through today, along the entire border with Ukraine, 100,000 people have crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland," Szefernaker said.

"Since 7 a.m. the Ukrainian side has closed part of the lanes for cars and allowed pedestrian traffic," he went on. "The queue on the Ukrainian side should decrease."

Szefernaker said Poland could process 50,000 refugees at the border every day and that 90 percent of those arriving already had places to go, such as the homes of friends and family. The rest would seek assistance at nine border reception centers.

More Ukrainians are expected to cross into Poland and other neighboring countries as the conflict continues.

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Mateusz Morawiecki Speaks at a Press Conference
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks during a joint-press conference with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on February 10, 2022 in Warsaw. Morawiecki has called on Germany to do more to help Ukraine. Daniel Leal - Pool/Getty Images