Nuclear Weapons in Poland? President Duda Confirms Discussions with the US

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.22 - 2024 3:12 PM CET

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Poland 'is ready' to host nuclear weapons, the Polish president says.

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Poland is open to hosting nuclear weapons on its territory as part of NATO's Nuclear Sharing Programme, President Andrzej Duda announced on Monday, 22 April. During a recent visit to the United States, Duda discussed the potential deployment of nuclear weapons in Poland with US administration officials.

Nuclear Sharing and Security

NATO's Nuclear Sharing Programme allows non-nuclear member states to host and participate in planning and exercises involving US nuclear weapons. Currently, US nuclear arsenals are stationed in Europe at several bases, including Kleine Brogel in Belgium, Büchel in Germany, and Inçirlik in Turkey, among others.

"If there is a decision by our [NATO] allies to deploy nuclear weapons in Poland as part of Nuclear Sharing to reinforce the security of NATO Eastern Flank, we are ready for that," Duda told the Polish daily Fakt.

Discussions with the US and Russia's Escalation

Duda's talks with the US administration focused on the potential deployment and broader security issues. Russia's ongoing militarization of the neighboring Kaliningrad Oblast and the movement of Russian nuclear weapons to Belarus, a neighboring state to Poland, were key points of concern. These developments have heightened Poland's commitment to strengthening its defense capabilities, with plans to increase defense spending to 4% of GDP.

US support for Poland is not seen as merely a goodwill gesture; “The Americans have their interests in Poland, and I want them to feel (…) that it is also in their interest to keep us safe,” Duda stated.

Divisions within Polish Politics

The topic of nuclear weapons deployment in Poland has caused divisions among Polish political parties. The previous conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government and the far-right Confederation party supported Poland's participation in the Nuclear Sharing Programme, seeing it as a strong security guarantee.

The current government, led by the pro-EU centrist Civic Coalition (KO), under Prime Minister Donald Tusk, is more skeptical. Former Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak warned that speculations on stationing nuclear weapons in Poland might not serve the country's security.

Russia's Reaction and the Risk of Escalation

Duda's comments on nuclear sharing coincided with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declaring that the threat of nuclear war is increasing. Lavrov claimed that Western support for Ukraine could provoke a direct military confrontation between nuclear powers, as reported by Reuters.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has warned that if the United States conducts nuclear tests, Moscow would respond in kind.

While Russian media reported on Duda's statement about nuclear weapons in Poland, there was no official reaction from the Kremlin at the time of publication.

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