Polish President Andrzej Duda has accused his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of seeking to conquer Europe and has insisted that Russia must be stopped in Ukraine where it is “cheap” to do so.
In an interview with the Washington Post published on Thursday, the Polish leader was asked to respond to American conservatives who oppose sending additional military and financial aid to Ukraine.
“It is very simple,” Duda said. “Right now, Russian imperialism can be stopped cheaply, because American soldiers are not dying.” Unless “Russian aggression” is halted now, “there will be a very high price to be paid,” the Polish president added.
- President Putin is seeking to restore “czarist territory,” Duda claimed. He said the West needed to stop Russia now, before “American soldiers have to shed their blood and to lose their lives in Europe to restore peace and liberty to the world.”
Duda suggested accepting Ukraine into NATO as the best way to thwart the Kremlin.
He admitted that he was disappointed that Kiev did not receive a formal invitation to the US-led bloc during last month’s NATO summit in Lithuania.
He also said he plans to push the Biden administration to make sure Kiev receives an invitation next year.
Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated on Wednesday that Moscow would bolster its forces along its western borders in response to what he called a growing threat from the US and its allies in Europe, which are increasing their own military presence in the region.
The minister pointed to the recent accession of Finland into NATO and the potential joining of Sweden, as well as the increasing militarization of Poland, which he claimed “has become the main instrument of the anti-Russian policies of the US.”
- Shoigu also alleged that Warsaw is actively seeking to take over parts of Ukraine by forming a so-called Polish-Ukrainian military unit, whose official purpose will be defending Western Ukraine, but will in fact serve to occupy it.
The defense minister also stressed that Russia needs to come up with a timely and adequate response to the increasing size of NATO forces in the immediate vicinity of the borders of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.