Polish President Andrzej Duda attends a ceremony of signing of a contract with Lockheed Martin for the purchase of 32 Lockheed Martin F-35 combat aircraft worth USD 4.6 bln, Duda has caused a stir with his remarks on Poland’s ambition to join NATO’s nuclear sharing programme EPA-EFE/WOJTEK JAR


Tusk questions call for Poland to host nuclear weapons


Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his foreign minister Radosław Sikorski have indicated they need further convincing that Poland should seek to join NATO’s nuclear sharing programme.

Their comments come after President Andrzej Duda said that Poland is now seeking to host US nuclear weapons on its soil.

Reacting to Duda’s remarks, Tusk said that the Polish President’s initiative had not been signed off by the Government.

He added that he would need to speak to Duda about the comments.

“Any potential initiatives must be very well prepared by the people responsible for them,” Tusk said.

“All of us have to be absolutely positive that we want it. This idea is absolutely massive, I would say, and very serious, and I would need to know all the circumstances that have led the president to make this declaration.”

In a subsequent interview with BBC radio, Sikorski also said that the issue of Poland hosting nuclear weapons had not been discussed by the Polish Government, adding that hosting such munitions could be dangerous.

“Although NATO weapons on Polish soil would be there to defend our territory they would also be a target for Russia,” he commented.

Tusk and Sikorski’s position represents a departure from that adopted by the previous Conservative (PiS) government led by Mateusz Morawiecki.

Last year, the group had declared that Poland wanted to become a participant in the nuclear sharing programme in response to Russia’s decision to deploy tactical nuclear arms in Belarus.

During his state visit to Canada on April 22, Duda repeated the claim that Poland had begun talks about joining the nuclear sharing programme.

“I do not hide that, when asked about it, I declared our readiness,” he said.

“Russia is increasingly militarizing the Kaliningrad region, which borders Poland, and has recently relocated some of its nuclear weapons to Belarus.”.

Duda added that Poland was ready to host nuclear weapons. “If our allies decide to deploy nuclear weapons as part of nuclear sharing on our territory to strengthen the security of NATO’s eastern flank, we are ready for it.”

Nuclear sharing is a NATO programme under which countries that do not have their own atomic weaponry host those belonging to other allied states.

Since November 2009, US nuclear weapons have been stored in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey but only the US, the UK and France own such armaments themselves.

Duda’s declaration of Poland’s readiness to host nuclear weapons also comes ahead of the imminent delivery of 32 US F-35 combat aircraft, which are capable of carrying B61 nuclear bombs.