Polish foreign minister rebukes president over US nukes remark

Such delicate matters should be discussed behind closed doors, Radoslaw Sikorski says

FILE PHOTO: Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. ©  Jaap Arriens / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Poland’s foreign minister has said President Andrzej Duda had no authority to speculate about Warsaw hosting part of the US nuclear arsenal on its soil.

In an interview with Polsat News TV on Friday, Radoslaw Sikorski weighed in on Duda’s statement earlier this week, when he said placing US nukes in Poland “has been a topic of Polish-American talks for some time” and that he had “declared readiness” to host to the weapons. Under the current political setup in Poland, Duda has found himself in opposition to the government, which was formed by a parliamentary majority.

“Mr President has already been told, at the highest levels… not to talk about it, that there is no chance for it now. I don’t know why he said it,” Sikorski stated.

The foreign minister also stressed that Duda, as head of state, is obligated to implement foreign policy in a way articulated by the Council of Ministers, the top executive decision-making body. “We have not given any authorization or encouragement to talk about it publicly,” Sikorski noted.

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He went on to dismiss speculation that Poland would itself become a nuclear power by potentially joining NATO’s nuclear sharing program. “These are very complicated issues that we discuss at NATO nuclear planning meetings,” he said, stressing that those conversations “should not take place in public.”

The minister also noted that Russia has already responded to Duda’s comments. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that if Poland were to host US nuclear weapons, the Russian military would “take all necessary countermeasures to ensure our security.” In similar remarks, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned that the “relevant facilities” in Poland would “immediately be listed as legitimate targets in case of a direct military conflict with NATO.”

The US currently has nuclear weapons stationed in five fellow NATO states: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Türkiye. If Poland were to host US nuclear arms, it would put NATO’s nuclear arsenal at the doorstep of Russia’s westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad, and also Belarus, Moscow’s key ally.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has signaled that the US-led military bloc has no plans to send its atomic arsenal to Poland, while French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu has warned that the potential move would violate key Russia-NATO arms control agreements.


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