Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Polish foreign minister wants German troops in Poland

The Polish government would welcome Bundeswehr soldiers stationed in Poland, Minister of Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski said in an interview published in Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung.

“German officers are already working here in NATO outposts, in my hometown of Bydgoszcz, and also in Szczecin. After Russian missiles fell near the border, we temporarily deployed German Patriot batteries to secure the eastern border,” Sikorski said.

Referring to the discussion under the previous – Law and Justice (PiS) – government about deploying a German anti-missile defense system in Poland, Sikorski replied: “At that time, Poland had a nationalist government. We are done with demonizing democratic Germany. This is a controversial topic for nationalists, but not for us. Germany is our ally, we are happy with allied cooperation to secure NATO territory. Therefore, German soldiers would be welcome here,” he said.

Russian missiles with nuclear warheads deployed in Russia’s Kaliningrad district pose an equal threat to both Poland and Germany, he added. Sikorski emphasized that the priority task is to create rapid reaction troops, ready to be used in case the Americans are engaged in another conflict at that time.

According to Sikorski, US President Donald Trump’s recent statements suggesting the US would not defend countries that spend too little on the military, should be “an inspiration for a serious discussion about European defense and to increase funds for this purpose.”

When asked about Poland’s position on the idea of building a European nuclear potential, Sikorski replied: “French President Emmanuel Macron spoke in this spirit. I think it wouldn’t hurt if we tried to explain what exactly he meant.”

“Slowly” – the minister replied when asked if he would agree to storing European nuclear weapons on Polish territory. “I am a great supporter of common European defense, but we are not that far yet. The European defense budget is only now being created. And Germany is reluctant to expand it,” he explained.

Jo Harper
Jo Harper
Jo Harper is a British national with a 20-year freelance journalistic career in Poland, Germany and the UK, writing for Deutsche Welle, Politico, the BBC, the Daily Mirror, Gazeta Wyborcza, Polityka, New Eastern Europe and Forbes. He is a published author of books on Polish affairs and holds a PhD from the London School of Economics.