Poland Open to Stationing NATO Nuclear Weapons, President Duda Says

Wim De Gent
By Wim De Gent
April 22, 2024World News
Poland Open to Stationing NATO Nuclear Weapons, President Duda Says
Polish President Andrzej Duda addresses a press conference following the official inauguration of the Gas Interconnection PolandLithuania (GIPL) gas pipeline in Jauniunai, Lithuania, on May 5, 2022. (Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images)

As Russia continues to reinforce its armaments along the Polish border, President Andrzej Duda said Poland is open to NATO stationing nuclear weapons in the country as a war deterrent against Russia’s “imperial ambitions.”

“If our allies decide to deploy nuclear arms on our territory as part of nuclear sharing, to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank, we are ready for it,” Mr. Duda said in an interview published on Monday.

Poland, a NATO member and staunch supporter of Ukraine, shares a 144-mile border with the isolated Russian exclave Kaliningrad and a 250-mile border with Belarus, the Russian ally supplied in December with Russian tactical nuclear weapons.

Mr. Duda, who was interviewed while visiting New York to attend the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Week, said that discussions about nuclear cooperation between Poland and the United States have been ongoing “for some time.”

Ukraine aid
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (R) and Polish President Andrzej Duda meet after Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington, at Rzeszow-Jasionka Airport, Poland, on Dec. 22, 2022. (Jakub Szymczuk/KPRP/Handout via Reuters)

“I have already talked about this several times. I must admit that, when asked about it, I declared our readiness,” he said, possibly referring to his meeting in Washington with President Joe Biden last month.

Mr. Duda praised U.S.-Poland relations during the last three presidents and hoped to see the cooperation continue—also on an economic level.

“Americans have their interests in Poland and I would like them to feel that it is always profitable for them to have these interests, because it will mean for them that maintaining our security is also in the interest of the United States,” he said.

Growing Fears and Suspicion

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has publicly stated on several occasions that the country is essentially in a pre-war period, but Mr. Duda firmly rejected this fatalistic statement.

“I believe that if we act responsibly, and we are acting responsibly so far, there will never be a war, because we will always be powerful enough to not be worth attacking. This is what deterrence is all about,” he said.

Referring to the arms race during the Cold War, Mr. Duda argued that “Russia did not dare to attack the West because it saw that the West was powerful.”

Moscow replied to Mr. Duda’s admission that it would take steps if nuclear weapons were indeed stationed in Poland.

“The military will of course analyze the situation if it is implemented. I think, in any case, they will take all the necessary responsive steps in order to guarantee our safety,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state-owned news agency RIA Novosti.

Fear of a Russian invasion also sparked discussions in Poland about universal civilian firearm access, analogous to the United States.

“We don’t have such a tradition,” Mr. Duda replied. “We can discuss loosening some of the shackles and requirements in this area, but I would be cautious about complete universal access to weapons.”

Former President Donald Trump stands with Polish President Andrzej Duda at Trump Tower in New York City on April 17, 2024. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Dinner with Trump

During his visit to New York, the Polish President joined former President Donald Trump for dinner.

“Regardless of who is currently in power in Poland and regardless of who is in power in the United States, it is the duty of the Polish authorities to ensure the best possible relations between our countries,” Mr. Duda said, who reminisced signing “very important” arms contracts with the former president during their 4-year-long collaboration.

“I really want to emphasize that we have been friends since then,” the Polish President said. “I really like talking to him because he is an extremely interesting personality and has great experience, both political and business.”

“I am confident about how America’s business will be conducted when President Trump runs it again.”

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