Poland would come to the aid of Sweden and Finland if they came under attack, even before they complete the NATO accession process, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has pledged.
During a speech to an international security forum in Warsaw, Morawiecki also described Vladimir Putin as a “terrorist” who should be put on trial for his crimes and called on the West to “wake up from its geopolitical slumber” and “old delusions” regarding Russia.
PM @MorawieckiM during the @Strategic_Ark: 100 years ago, a battle took place on the outskirts of #Warsaw, which shaped the world order for the next two decades. Now the battle for #Ukraine may decide the future of the next 100 years. pic.twitter.com/CaDLOFMqVb
— Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland (@PremierRP_en) May 19, 2022
The Polish prime minister welcomed Sweden and Finland’s recent decision to seek NATO membership, which he said would “significantly strengthen peace in Europe” and marked a “serious defeat of the Kremlin”.
“I want to make it clear that, in the event of an attack on Sweden and Finland during their accession process, Poland will come to their aid,” said Morawiecki, prompting applause from the audience at the Strategic Ark conference, organised by the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM).
NATO doors “must remain open to the Ukrainians” as well, added the prime minister to further applause.
— Matt Karnitschnig (@MKarnitschnig) May 19, 2022
Morawiecki also called for an even tougher Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which he said “should wake us from our geopolitical slumber and cause us to cast off our old delusions”.Tthe West “must be ready to take a good look in the mirror”.
There must be “isolation of the Russian president”, said Morawiecki. “Yes, diplomacy requires dialogue, but you cannot negotiate with terrorists. Criminals must be brought to justice and their ideology – the ideology of Russkiy mir [Russian world] – must be vanquished.”
“Russia can only be deterred by our unity and military capabilities and hard sanctions; not by phone calls and conversations with Putin but by military aid to Ukraine and strengthing NATO’s eastern flank,” continued the prime minister.
Last month, Morawiecki criticised French President Emmanuel Macron for pursuing diplomacy with Putin (which Morawiecki likened to “negotiating with Hitler”) and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for prioritising “the voices of German businesses” over “the voices of murdered women and children” in Ukraine.
That prompted an angry response from Macron, who accused Morawiecki of seeking to interfere in the French presidential elections in favour of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who enjoys good relations with Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.
In his remarks today, Morawiecki said that Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States have now become the “conscience” of Europe, pushing for a tougher response to Russia.
For them, “the evils of the 20th century are not merely distant history but still a living memory” and they “cannot now ignore the warning signs”.
Russia has “committed genocide” in Ukraine and must face severe international repercussions, says Poland’s PM.
He criticised Macron for holding talks with Putin (“Would you negotiate with Hitler?”) and Scholz for prioritising German business interests https://t.co/GGRX0hOypT
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) April 4, 2022
“Putin is not the madman some claim him to be,” continued Morawiecki. “He knows that the only way to defeat the West is to divide it. Therefore as a counteroffensive we must build a new unity…United, we are much stronger than Russia.”
This response should include the establishment of new bases with permanently stationed NATO troops on the eastern flank, including in Poland. The NATO-Russia founding act should also be formally terminated, said Morawiecki, and the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline abandoned as soon as possible.
“For years, Poland has warned its allies that Russia could take advantage of Europe’s dependence on supplies of Russian resources, especially oil and gas, to further its imperial aspirations,” said Morawiecki. It was ignored, but has now been proven right, he added.
While Ukraine has been holding the line of the military front, it now up to the West to win on the economic front, the prime minister continued. “It is not enough to win the war; we must also not lose the peace. We must make a pact that Russia will never again threaten peace in Europe.”
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, EUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.