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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Ukraine has right to choose allies, no return to Cold War order: Polish deputy FM

27.01.2022 08:30
A Polish deputy foreign minister has said that Ukraine has a right to choose its alliances and that there is no return to the kind of world order based on spheres of influence that existed in the Cold War days.
Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk
Szymon Szynkowski vel SękTymon Markowski / MSZ / gov.pl

Speaking in an interview with Polish state broadcaster TVP Info, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk stressed the need for a "unified stance of the West" amid intensifying tensions with Russia over Ukraine.

Russia has recently amassed over 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine, demanding that NATO remove infrastructure from the alliance's eastern flank and not expand eastwards.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday said they had delivered written responses to Russia’s demands. 

Szynkowski vel Sęk told TVP Info these responses "reflected the Polish viewpoint."

“The message being communicated to Russia is that we want de-escalation, but de-escalation should not happen at the expense of concessions, of renouncing some of the values, of accepting violations of international law, of taking away Ukraine’s right to self-determination, its right to decide if it wants to be part of an alliance in the future and which alliance it will choose,” Szynkowski vel Sęk said.

He added that Ukraine wanted to join NATO and that Kyiv "has a sovereign right to make such a decision in the future.”

Szynkowski vel Sęk told TVP Info: “As the US state secretary said, the doors of NATO remain open. In this respect, there can be no talk of restoring the Cold War order--because that’s what the Russian proposals effectively mean - a return to spheres of influence.”

Positive and negative scenarios

Szynkowski vel Sęk also said in the interview that the standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine’s NATO ambitions could follow a "positive or negative scenario."

The first would mean that “Russia de-escalates tensions and there is a possibility of dialogue on a range of issues,” he told the Polish broadcaster.

Under the worst-case scenario, “there will be a firm reaction from NATO, in various spheres, such as economic and political measures,” he added. 

Blinken declared on Wednesday that NATO’s open-door policy would remain in place.  

Meanwhile, Stoltenberg said NATO was willing to listen to Russia’s security concerns and engage in real dialogue with Moscow.

But he emphasised that Russia must withdraw its forces from Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, the PAP news agency reported.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP, TVP Info