One of Poland’s top former military commander’s who led the country’s Land Forces until 2009, General (ret.) Waldemar Skrzypczak, has made stunning remarks on the nature of the “Russian threat” to Europe and the readiness of western allies to deploy nuclear weapons in any future conflict.
Alarmingly, his recent remarks during an interview with Polish media conglomerate Wirtualna Polska this week likely reflect powerful and hawkish elements of the Polish military establishment who along with Skrzypczak now see Poland as a bulwark against “aggression from the East.” The retired general imagined a future scenario of conflict where a US nuclear strike would be welcomed and necessary as “the most reasonable response”.
Retired General Waldemar Skrzypczak, formerly Poland’s Land Forces Commander
As part of his remarks the former land forces commander laid out a scenario where he sees Poland as a future ground zero for clashes between NATO and Russia.
He advanced the eastern European country as “an extremely important state from a strategic point of view” to prevent encroachment of “the Russian war machine” on the west, which further presents “the greatest concern of the free world.”
According to a translation of the interview by Russia’s RT, Skrzypczak actually mused that Russian invasion of Poland would be the likely catalyst for US first strike scenario involving nuclear weapons:
“It is true that the Americans vowed nuclear attacks to stop the Red Army in Poland,” Skrzypczak said, in an apparent reference to the days of the Cold War.
“Now there are plans like this if Putin hits. Not only that, in a military sense, this is the most reasonable [response].”
Such an outcome is “unacceptable” for Poland but if an all-out war breaks out, “nobody will ask our opinion,”the former general said. Going back to reality, he acknowledged that the worst thing that could happen to Poland is its isolation “as a result of our own political mistakes.”
Poland was a Warsaw Pact country from 1955 to 1991, and is now a full NATO member since 1999, and has thus always been at the geopolitical center of rivalry between the Kremlin and the West. Though itself not a nuclear armed power, it’s grown increasingly reliant on western partners like the United States for defense against its powerful neighbor.
“To say that Poland alone will be able to resist the aggression of Russia is a cheap populism that none of our allies treat seriously,” Skrzypczak noted, arguing that Poland must both lead and stick with its western allies against Russia, which he said by far has the continent’s most powerful military.
It must be remembered following Romania, Poland is set to host the US-built Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system, which can reportedly reach all of western Russia.
Moscow for its part has long warned against continued NATO build-up in Eastern Europe, citing figures showing NATO’s military assets deployed to the region have tripled and amidst increasingly frequent war games.
Just this week, for example, the ‘Sea Shield 2019’ NATO military exercises are set to run from April 5 to April 13 and involve “14 Romanian warships and six warships from Bulgaria, Canada, Greece, the Netherlands, Turkey with 2,200 troops will carry out joint combat tasks in the Black Sea region,” according to Ukraine’s Mission to NATO and the Romanian Ministry of National Defense.
The Kremlin slammed the multi-national naval drills which kicked off in the Black Sea on Friday and will include limited Ukrainian defense forces as yet another provocation. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said upon the games’ beginning, which also happens to mark NATO’s 70th birthday: “Having militarized NE Europe, NATO has decided to increase its military presence in the Black Sea.”