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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

US nuclear weapons in Poland would be priority military target – Moscow

Warsaw wants to host NATO arms under the bloc’s sharing scheme

Russia would consider foreign deployments of nuclear weapons in Poland a primary military target, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has warned.

Warsaw is in talks with Washington on potentially hosting nuclear arms as part of a NATO program. President Andrzej Duda reiterated Poland’s willingness to host the weapons in an interview this week.

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Moscow considers any expansion of NATO’s nuclear-sharing arrangement as “deeply destabilizing” in nature, “and in fact threatening” Russia, Ryabkov was quoted as saying by TASS on Thursday. This applies to joint missions, where non-nuclear members of the US-led bloc are trained to use American hardware, and even more so to the permanent stationing of such weapons “which hotheads in Warsaw are talking about,” he said.

Polish politicians vying for American nukes on their soil “must understand that any shift in that direction will not provide additional security to Poland, since relevant sites will definitely become targets. Our military planners will consider them a priority,” the senior diplomat added.

Duda told the Fakt newspaper on Monday that he had personally asked the US to station part of its nuclear arsenal in Poland.

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”If our allies decide to deploy nuclear weapons as part of nuclear sharing also on our territory to strengthen the security of NATO’s eastern flank, we are ready for it,” he said.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who belongs to a rival political force, downplayed the president’s remarks on the same day, saying he would like Duda to clarify what his intentions were in making them.

”This idea is very massive, I would say very serious,” the prime minister added, explaining that Poland has no specific plans to host foreign nukes.

According to public sources, the US keeps some of its nuclear gravity bombs in five non-nuclear NATO states: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Türkiye. Poland’s previous conservative government led by Law and Justice (PiS), to which Duda belongs, has been seeking admission into this club for years. Tusk is the leader of Civic Platform, and returned to power as prime minister last December.