Poland fears it could be the next country invaded by Russia if Vladimir Putin’s forces succeed in Ukraine. Polish deputy foreign minister, Pawel Jabłoński, has warned that six other countries are vulnerable and that the West needs to come together to help Ukraine.
He said: “If we don’t support Ukraine now, there will be new targets for it [Vladimir] Putin.
“A Russian politician recently suggested that Russia should ‘denazify’ six more countries after Ukraine, including Poland. What we do now, we do out of solidarity and in support of the victims.”
Łukasz Jankowski, a political journalist who covers the Polish Parliament, echoed this sentiment.
He said: “The opinion throughout Polish society is that if Russia succeeds in Ukraine by claiming territory, whether in Kherson or Zaporizhzhia, there will be the next war, and another after that.
“The feeling is that our basic safety and our independence will be in danger if Russia wins.”
Poland has been arguably Ukraine’s most supportive ally since the invasion began last year. Warsaw accepted more Ukrainian refugees than any other Western ally, and recently played an influential role in getting Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv.
The people of Poland have their own tense history with Russia, having been subjected to Moscow’s imperialism in the past.
But Mr. Jankowski explained why Poles and Ukrainians have such strong ties: “Many Poles who take Ukrainian refugees into their homes see Ukraine as a very new nation, and they consider the relationship between Poland and Ukraine as a brotherhood.”
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Asked about an end to the war, Mr Kirby added: “I think, in the aggregate. We all would like to see this war end today.
“That doesn’t appear to be in the offing as Mr. Putin, just over the last 24 hours, flew dozens more cruise missiles into civilian targets in Ukraine knocking out heat and power across the country.
“So absent that, we’re going to have to stay at the task of supporting Ukraine so that they can succeed on the battlefield. So that if and when President Zelensky has determined it’s time to negotiate, and sit down at the table to solve this diplomatically, he can do it with the wind at his back.”