Despite threats, Putin knows tactical nukes would be ‘suicidal,’ Poland’s envoy says

The percentages that Moscow will use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine are low as a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin is aware of it “could be politically and militarily suicidal,” Poland’s high diplomat in Washington mentioned.

Polish Ambassador Marek Magierowski in an interview this week accused Moscow of utilizing its power exports as a weapon and cautioned in opposition to believing Kremlin propaganda about still-mysterious latest assaults on Russian fuel pipelines supplying Western markets.

In a wide-ranging dialogue with The Washington Occasions, Ambassador Magierowski mentioned the West ought to improve refined weaponry deliveries to Kyiv amid surging Russian missile assaults on Ukrainian cities and careworn that Poland, which shares a 330-mile border with Ukraine, strongly backs Kyiv’s pursuit of each NATO and European Union membership.

With regard to Russian tactical nukes, Ambassador Magierowski, a 51-year-old former journalist who served as Poland’s envoy to Israel earlier than arriving in Washington final 12 months, mentioned the menace is acquainted for Warsaw, which has vivid Chilly Warfare-era reminiscences of being within the “cross-hairs” of U.S.-Soviet nuclear brinkmanship.

Whereas Poland at this time is “involved” about nuclear threats emanating from the Kremlin, Ambassador Magierowski famous Mr. Putin has by no means explicitly mentioned Moscow is contemplating deploying much less highly effective, “tactical” nuclear bombs as Russia’s seven-month invasion of Ukraine faces mounting difficulties.

“The percentages are fairly low of Mr. Putin or Russia utilizing the nuclear card,” the ambassador mentioned.

“If we speak about tactical nuclear weapons, mankind has by no means used them,” he mentioned. “We all know what the consequences of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been, however tactical nuclear weapons have by no means been utilized in fight, so it might be very tough to foretell what the precise impression could be of utilizing such a warhead, for instance, on the entrance line in Ukraine.”

“I imagine that Mr. Putin is conscious of that, his army is conscious of that,” he mentioned, including that “a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine on the entrance line could be not solely very dangerous when it comes to the publicity of Russian troops to the blast and to the radiation, in a broader context, it might be politically and militarily suicidal for Putin and that’s why I imagine he refrains no longer solely from utilizing this sort of weapon but additionally from speaking about it overtly.”

The identical logic ought to apply to the query of whether or not Russia is contemplating finishing up a traditional strike in opposition to any NATO member nation neighboring Ukraine, the ambassador mentioned.

“I imagine that Putin does understand that it might be, from his perspective, additionally completely suicidal, each politically and militarily,” he mentioned, asserting that Moscow is properly conscious that NATO would contemplate an armed assault in opposition to any member nation an assault in opposition to all of them.

Ukraine’s NATO bid

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has just lately requested that NATO contemplate granting Ukraine an “accelerated accession” or a “fast-track” to membership within the alliance. Mr. Putin explicitly listed the chance that Ukraine would at some point be part of the Western army alliance as one justification for launching the invasion earlier this 12 months.

Poland “would, in fact, be joyful to see Ukraine within the foreseeable future, as a NATO member,” the ambassador mentioned, whereas noting that an accelerated accession is unlikely given “misgivings” amongst a few of the alliance’s 29 different member nations.

He careworn that EU membership for Ukraine ought to take priority as a result of it might frustrate Russian makes an attempt to undermine Kyiv economically and politically.

“What [Putin] fears most is a affluent and rich Ukraine cracking down on effectively on corruption and drawing nearer to the European Union and to Europe as such, to the free world, than to ‘Mom Russia,’” Ambassador Magieroswki mentioned.

He prompt debates over Ukrainian NATO membership must be considered throughout the context of how the 1999 inclusion of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary into the alliance modified the trajectory of regional safety.

“What would the world appear like if we had not joined NATO in 1999?” he requested. “We’d most likely be working to shelters. My fellow countrymen in Poland and my household [would be] defending our nation in opposition to one other Russian incursion in Central Europe.”

Higher European cohesion

Mr. Zelenskyy and Ukrainian army leaders have pressed the Group of Seven international locations — the world’s largest democracies — to offer Ukraine an “air defend” as Russia has renewed an air barrage focusing on cities and infrastructure websites throughout the nation in latest days.

Ambassador Magierowski mentioned Poland stays against the thought of a Western-enforced “no-fly” zone over Ukraine out of concern it might elevate the danger of direct NATO confrontation with Russia. However he mentioned extra must be finished to ship “state-of-the-art weaponry to Ukraine, which might enable the Ukrainian armed forces to defend their nation extra effectively in opposition to Russian aggression.”

“We’re speaking about long-range missile programs, anti-aircraft programs, which Ukraine badly wants proper now,” the ambassador mentioned, including that “Europe might do extra” and that “Europe and the European Union must be extra united when it comes to our political and army help to Ukraine.”

“Poland has been one of many main international locations when it comes to weapons deliveries to Ukraine and I imagine the Polish authorities will probably be steadfast in its willpower to maintain…delivering anti-aircraft programs, self-propelled howitzers and tanks to Ukraine,” he mentioned.
Poland has additionally taken in some three million Ukrainian refugees fleeing the combating, extra every other nation — a actuality that has fueled political strains that had been simmering between Warsaw and Brussels properly earlier than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Friction between the EU and the right-leaning populist authorities of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reared its head Wednesday, with Poland’s minister for ties with the European bloc resigning from his put up. The Related Press characterised Konrad Szymanski’s departure as a weakening of the Morawiecki authorities at a second of rising political tensions in Warsaw over Europe’s power disaster and methods of countering inflation and rising prices of dwelling.

With Poland in search of European monetary help to cope with the Ukrainian refugee circulate, the EU’s govt arm moved in June to unfreeze some $38 billion that had been earmarked for Poland’s home COVID-19 restoration packages however was blocked for greater than a 12 months by Brussels over considerations that the Warsaw authorities will improperly prohibit the independence of the nation’s judiciary.

Whereas such points loom within the backdrop, Ambassador Magierowski emphasised that Poland and the Baltic nations are “the main international locations when it comes to army help to Ukraine per capita” and “would really like different international locations to comply with go well with.”

“If we have a look at the ratio between relative wealth of some EU member states and ours, I imagine another international locations must be doing way more,” he mentioned.

 ‘American troops in Poland’

The ambassador gently chided fellow EU international locations for failing to heed Poland’s warnings over the previous decade in regards to the hazard of changing into too reliant on Russian power. Mr. Putin’s threats to restrict or lower off solely Russian power exports to European markets has confirmed a potent supply of leverage and despatched governments scrambling to seek out various suppliers because the winter months strategy.

“This can be a very painful lesson for all of us, however Poland has been prescient all alongside,” he mentioned. “A few years in the past, we had been already warning our companions within the European Union that Putin would at some point weaponize power and exports of Russian fuel to Europe and that is what we’re witnessing proper now.”

Poland has been transferring for years towards pure fuel from non-Russian producers. Along with opening its first LNG terminal on the Baltic Sea in 2015, Poland this 12 months inaugurated the so-called “Baltic Pipe,” now transferring fuel from the Norwegian continental shelf by way of Denmark to the Polish shoreline.

“Now we’re formally and fully impartial of imports of Russian fuel, which isn’t the case, sadly in Germany or in France or in Austria or in different international locations,” Ambassador Magierowski mentioned.

The ambassador cautioned in opposition to believing “Russian propaganda” concerning the latest discovery of large pure fuel leaks into the Baltic Sea following obvious assaults that ruptured Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2  pipelines to Western Europe,

Whereas some Western officers have prompt Russian operatives carried out the assaults in a bid to worsen the impression of the power disaster now dealing with EU international locations, the Kremlin has countered that the pipelines had been possible sabotaged by the West in a plot to weaken Moscow’s power leverage over Europe.

“It might be preposterous responsible the West, the US or Poland for sabotaging the pipeline community,” Ambassador Magierowski advised The Occasions.

He known as the Poland-U.S. alliance, calling it “ironclad, steadfast and really probably the most very important and most vital when it comes to Poland’s overseas coverage,” asserting that Poland is dedicated to “making an attempt to cooperate fruitfully with each Democratic and Republican administrations.”

The ambassador additionally famous what he mentioned was President Biden’s “clear imaginative and prescient of what we must be doing proper now when it comes to aiding Ukraine.”

With Mr. Biden having introduced in June that the institution of the U.S. Military’s V Corps’ everlasting headquarters in Poland, Ambassador Magierowski mentioned Warsaw-Washington safety ties are deepening.

“To place it bluntly,” he mentioned. “We count on much more American troops in Poland.”

• Sean Salai contributed to this text.

Latest news
Related news