Russia will consider NATO nuclear weapons in Poland as military targets

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister criticized Poland’s willingness to place NATO nuclear weapons on its territory, warning that they would become military targets.

“The expansion of NATO’s nuclear presence, regardless of any country’s territory, is a destabilizing and threatening move,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said today.

Mr. Ryabkov’s statement was made a few days after Polish President Andrzej Duda said Warsaw was ready for NATO to deploy nuclear weapons in this country. Russian Deputy Minister said that Moscow is monitoring every move of Warsaw related to the issue of NATO nuclear weapons deployment in Poland.

“Hot heads in Poland have mentioned the possibility of permanently deploying nuclear weapons on their territory. These politicians need to understand that this will not increase Poland’s security, but will only make the Weapons storage facilities become targets and will be taken into account in Russia’s combat plans,” Mr. Ryabkov said.

Polish and NATO officials have not commented on the information.

Nuclear sharing is part of NATO’s deterrence policy, allowing the placement of nuclear weapons in member countries that do not possess this capability. Additionally, the program could include activities such as providing escort or reconnaissance aircraft to carry out nuclear missions.

Within the framework of the program, NATO has deployed US nuclear weapons to Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Türkiye since December 2009. Washington has full control and operation of nuclear weapons that this country deploys abroad.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg affirmed on April 23 that NATO has no plans to expand the nuclear sharing program or deploy additional nuclear weapons to any other member country.

This is not the first time Poland has proposed this idea. In June 2023, Mateusz Morawiecki, then Prime Minister of Poland, said the country was ready to join NATO’s nuclear sharing program, in response to Russia’s announcement of deploying tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus. .

Location where the US stores nuclear weapons in Europe (blue triangle). Graphics: CFR

Location where the US stores nuclear weapons in Europe (blue triangle). Graphics: CFR

President Duda also said in 2022 that he was negotiating with the US about letting NATO deploy nuclear weapons in Poland to counter the threat from Russia. However, the US has so far shown no signs of agreeing to that proposal.