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22 Apr, 2024 14:02

Kremlin reacts to Poland’s nuclear comments

The country’s president has said that Warsaw is ready to host US atomic weapons on its territory
Kremlin reacts to Poland’s nuclear comments

Russia will take all appropriate measures to protect itself if the US proceeds with the deployment of nuclear weapons in Poland, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Polish President Andrzej Duda told the local daily Fakt that he had discussed the issue of hosting American nukes on the country’s soil. “I must admit that when asked about it, I declared our readiness,” he said, blaming what he called Moscow’s militarization of its western exclave of Kaliningrad.

Duda also explained that as a NATO member, Poland has certain obligations, and “in this respect, we simply implement a common policy.”

The potential move would place NATO’s nuclear arsenal on the border of Belarus, Moscow’s key ally, as well as Kaliningrad. As things currently stand, the US has nuclear weapons stationed in five fellow NATO members: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Türkiye.

Responding to Duda’s statement, Peskov noted that if the US does indeed place the weapons in Poland, the Russian military would analyze the new reality of having them closer to its territory.

“In any case, they [the military] would take all necessary countermeasures to ensure our security,” he added, without going into specifics.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called Duda’s remarks a “provocation,” which she said was not particularly surprising. “The Polish authorities have long made no secret of their ambitions to ‘snuggle up’ to the US nuclear weapons stationed in Europe,” she told RIA Novosti. She said further that Warsaw wanted those assets to play a certain role in its “deeply hostile policy towards Russia.”

“It is not difficult to assume that if American nuclear weapons appear on Polish territory, the relevant facilities will immediately be listed as legitimate targets in case of a direct military conflict with NATO,” Zakharova warned.

Duda’s statement comes after Russia placed tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus last year, with Russian President Vladimir Putin explaining the move as a response to Britain’s decision to supply Ukraine with depleted uranium ammunition. He also mentioned that the US had kept nukes in Europe for decades.

Russia has repeatedly said it has never threatened to use its nuclear arsenal, and that a nuclear war must never be fought. Last month, however, Putin signaled that Moscow was ready for such a scenario “from the military and technical point of view.”