Poland ‘not in talks’ to host US nukes
Poland’s Defense Ministry has denied being involved in negotiations to host US nuclear weapons under a NATO program.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the ministry said, “Within the Defense Ministry there is presently no work underway concerning the accession of our country to the NATO Nuclear Sharing program.”
On Saturday, Deputy Defense Minister Tomasz Szatkowski told private Polish broadcaster Polsat that the ministry was contemplating whether to take part in the program.
The program allows the non-nuclear members of NATO to borrow nuclear arms from the United States and station them in their territory. The US, France and Britain are the only nuclear powers among NATO’s 28 members. As part of the program, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands are hosting US nuclear weapons.
Russia does not look favorably upon the deployment of nuclear weapons in NATO states near its borders. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in June that if NATO threatens Russia, Moscow will respond to the threat accordingly.
“If someone threatens our territories, it means that we will have to aim our armed forces accordingly at the territories from where the threat is coming. How else could it be? It is NATO that approaching our borders, it’s not like we are moving anywhere,” he said.
In September, Poland’s parliament approved to ratify a technical agreement on establishing a US anti-missile base in Redzikowo Village, near the northern Polish town of Slupsk. Under the agreement, the US will station SM-3 ballistic missile interceptors in Redzikowo with the aim of protecting NATO countries from the perceived threat of ballistic missiles launched from “rogue states.”
The NATO-backed plan would be operational by 2018. A similar deal to host anti-missile bases has been signed with Romania.
Washington’s plans to install anti-missile systems in Eastern Europe have also been one of the major issues fueling tensions between the US and Russia.
Russia has long been demanding the dismantling of the missile defense system built in Europe by the US and its allies.