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Poland 'ready' to host NATO nuclear weapons to deter Russia: president

22.04.2024 23:00
Poland's President Andrzej Duda has said his country would be ready to host nuclear weapons belonging to other NATO members in response to Russia's deployment of nuclear arms in neighbouring Belarus.
Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks to reporters during a visit to Canada on Monday, April 22, 2024.
Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks to reporters during a visit to Canada on Monday, April 22, 2024.Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

In an interview published on Monday in Polish tabloid FaktDuda said that Russia has "recently relocated its nuclear weapons to Belarus," following an announcement in December by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

'We are ready'

"If our allies decide to deploy nuclear arms on our territory as part of the nuclear sharing programme, in order to reinforce NATO's eastern flank, we are ready (to host such weapons)," Duda declared.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters on Monday that, while national security and defence are paramount for his government, he needs to discuss this suggestion with Duda as soon as possible to ensure that "any potential initiatives are very well prepared by the people responsible for them" and that "all of us are absolutely positive that we want it."

Tusk added: “This idea is absolutely massive, I would say, and very serious, and I would need to know all the circumstances that have led the president to make this declaration."

'Russia is pursuing a policy of nuclear expansion'

Speaking to reporters in Edmonton, Canada on Monday, Duda said he would meet with Tusk to discuss the idea of Poland joining the nuclear sharing programme.

"Russia is pursuing a policy of nuclear expansion and bringing nuclear weapons closer to NATO's borders," the Polish president told reporters.

"If Poland becomes part of the nuclear sharing arrangement, this will be in response to Russia's aggressive policies and actions," he said.

In October 2022, Duda told the Gazeta Polska newspaper that Poland had asked to have US nuclear weapons based on its territory amid concerns that Russia could move to use nuclear arms in Ukraine, according to reports at the time. 

A White House official told public broadcaster Polish Radio on October 6, 2022 that the United States was not planning to station nuclear weapons in countries that joined the NATO alliance after 1997.

Russia threatens 'retaliatory steps' if 'such plans are implemented'

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that any deployment of US nuclear weapons in Poland would be met with steps necessary for Russia’s security, the AP news agency reported.

“The military will, of course, analyze the situation if such plans are implemented, and in any case will do everything necessary, (will take) all the necessary retaliatory steps to guarantee our safety,” Peskov said at a news conference in Moscow, as quoted by the AP.

Nuclear sharing is a NATO programme that is part of the alliance's nuclear deterrence policy. It makes nuclear warheads available to member states that do not have such armaments on their own. Since November 2009, under nuclear sharing, US nuclear weapons have been stored in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, starting the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II.

Monday is day 783 of Russias war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAPAP