The Russian government has reacted furiously to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s remarks calling for his country to participate in NATO’s nuclear sharing program, and has warned that such a move would increase the risk of a third world war.
Late last week, Morawiecki appealed to NATO to allow Poland to join the alliance’s nuclear program as a response to Russia placing nuclear weapons in Belarus.
His words caused a storm of protests in Moscow. The deputy chairman of the Duma’s defense committee, Yuri Schvytkin, warned that at best the Polish prime minister’s remarks would result in a spiraling of tensions, “but the worst case scenario was a third world war with the use of nuclear weapons.”
Schvytkin added that NATO was becoming increasingly provocative and that it failed to understand that in an eventual conflict there would be no winners and losers. He said that Russia was a nuclear power in reality and its possession of these weapons wasn’t just to admire them as exhibits.
The White House has been reluctant to comment on Morawiecki’s pleas, insisting it had nothing to say with regard to any talks on the subject and added that it has not changed its plans for strategic deterrence.
At the weekend, Morawiecki publicly defended his position on nuclear sharing, claiming that Poland had the right to enjoy the highest level of security in response to threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin and the actual location of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus.
The Polish prime minister also accused the previous liberal government led by Donald Tusk of having failed to secure an American missile shield. He was referring to the fact that Tusk’s government had dragged its feet by drawing out negotiations over the missile shield with the Bush administration. The Obama administration later scrapped the missile shield project after coming into office.