US clarifies position on deploying nuclear weapons to Poland
The US will not deploy any nuclear weapons to Poland or any other NATO nation in Eastern Europe, State Department Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel told journalists on Thursday.
Patel was responding to a proposal from the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, who advocated for Warsaw's participation in Washington's “nuclear sharing” scheme. The Polish leader also claimed that Warsaw discussed the issue with Washington and such a possibility “remains open.”
The US “has no plans to deploy nuclear weapons” to any nation that “has joined NATO post-1997,” he said. The spokesman called Warsaw “an important NATO ally in the region” but added that he is not aware of this particular issue “being raised” in talks between the two allies.
Currently, US nuclear weapons are deployed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey as part of the nuclear sharing program. The five NATO members only host the nukes, which remain in the ownership of Washington.
The discussion came amid concerns among the western nations about a potential use of nuclear weapons by Russia, which is involved in a protracted conflict with Ukraine. Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow was ready to “use all means” to defend itself if its territorial integrity was under threat. His words were then perceived by some in the West as an alleged threat to use nuclear weapons in the ongoing conflict.
High-ranking officials in Moscow as well as Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, then insisted that Russia was not threatening anyone with nukes since it still believes a nuclear conflict cannot be won and thus should not be started.