Polish President Andrzej Duda warned that Central Europe could plunge back into war during the 2021 Lithuanian National Security Conference in Vilnius.
At the conference, he stated that the “beginning with the time of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, a real specter of conventional warfare has returned to our part of Europe for the first time in decades.”
Duda added that this was a relatively new situation for the region after a generation of stability and success, and requires the adoption of a new outlook on issues of security.
He explained that Russia continues to demonstrate its military might and is increasing tensions in the region through activities such as the ZAPAD 2021 military exercises, which are taking place near the Lithuanian and Polish borders in Belarus.
Duda underscored that deepening cooperation between Poland and Lithuania is necessary for the security and stability of the region, as well as the cohesion and efficiency of the EU and NATO.
The president declared that “a Polish-Lithuanian union, cooperation between the two countries and the remaining Baltic States and the entire region, was what Central Europe’s enemies, especially from the East, feared the most.”
“They will try to divide us through different means – they will try to embroil us in different ways,” Duda warned.
“But I strongly believe that we will not falter. Our cooperation of the last several years will only become stronger and bloom. This is what I wish for Poland, Lithuania, and us all,” he added.
Polish President Andrzej Duda:
Polish-Lithuanian union, cooperation between the two countries and the remaining Baltic States and the entire region, was what Central Europe’s enemies – especially from the East – feared the most.
The president believed that the answer to rising threats from the East should be focused on developing the structures of allied institutions. This includes maintaining NATO military presence on the alliance’s Eastern flank and ensuring that all allies meet their financial obligations.
The president of Poland pointed out that another level of the new threats is the series of hybrid attacks which pose a serious challenge to the security of transatlantic states. These threats include illegal attacks on political systems and economic and democratic values, and are meant to destabilize Western societies. These attacks are mainly carried out in cyberspace.
Another example of hybrid attacks that the president indicated was the current migration crisis on the borders of Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. Duda stressed that to efficiently counteract these new dangers, a joint strategy must be established.
“Currently, two documents are being worked out in this area. The first is NATO’s strategic concept, and the other is the European Union’s strategic compass,” he said.