Zbigniew Rau made the remark in an interview with US broadcaster NBC News on Tuesday night.
Appearing on the Meet the Press programme, Poland’s top diplomat was asked whether NATO should respond militarily if Russia deploys nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
'NATO response should be devastating'
He replied: “To the best of our knowledge, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is threatening to use tactical nuclear weapons on Ukrainian soil, not to attack NATO, which means that NATO should respond in a conventional way, but the response should be devastating. And I suppose this is the clear message that the NATO alliance is sending to Russia right now.”
Rau, who is making a visit to Washington, also warned that Putin could use the pseudo-referenda staged in occupied parts of Ukraine to justify using “extraordinary means” to defend territory that Russia has grabbed.
'Obviously President Putin is losing the war in Ukraine'
Regarding Russia’s partial mobilisation of troops for the invasion of Ukraine, Poland’s foreign minister said that “obviously President Putin is losing the war in Ukraine” and sending “poorly trained, poorly equipped” draftees is unlikely to “change the course of the war.”
Rau noted that Ukrainian forces have been defeating Russia’s professional soldiers.
He said the troop call-up “can mean a breakthrough somewhere else, on the Russian domestic front,” undermining popular support for the war.
“I believe this is going to be a longer process, but the direction of this process has been already determined,” Rau stated.
'We in Poland have solidarity in our DNA'
Asked if Poland would be able to continue helping the people of Ukraine while dealing with inflation and other economic challenges, Rau responded: “Very briefly: We in Poland have solidarity in our DNA and this is our approach that is good for good and bad times.”
Wednesday is day 217 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: PAP, nbcnews.com