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Europe in ‘pre-war era,’ warns Poland’s Prime Minister Tusk, citing Russia’s threat

Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty Images

Tusk said that “war is no longer a concept of the past” in an interview with German media.


Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk warned that Europe was in a “pre-war era” but still had “a long way to go” before it was ready to confront the threat posed by Russia .

“War is no longer a concept of the past. This is real and it started over two years ago. The most worrying thing at the moment is that practically all scenarios are possible. We have not seen such a situation since 1945,” Tusk said in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt published on Friday.

“I know it seems devastating, especially for the younger generation, but we have to get used to the fact that a new era has begun: the pre-war era. I am not exaggerating; it becomes clearer every day.

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, European leaders and military officials have increasingly feared that the conflict could spread to other countries on its border. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied that Russia intends to attack NATO countries.

The Russian war upended the post-Cold War geopolitical order, forcing Europe to take its own defense seriously after decades of shrinking military budgets and prompting border countries to take more drastic measures.

Sweden and Finland recently joined NATO – which would have been unthinkable just two years ago for these two Scandinavian countries, which are known to be neutral. In the Baltics, Estonia and Lithuania have boosted their defense budgets well beyond the NATO minimum commitment of 2% of GDP. And Moldova, which borders Ukraine and has long been vulnerable to Russian interference, is on an accelerated path to the European Union.

Meanwhile, the triumvirate of France, Germany and Poland – called the “Weimar Triangle” – has spearheaded the continent’s efforts to rearm and guard against further Russian aggression.

Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and French President Emmanuel Macron in Berlin, Germany, March 15, 2024.

Tusk returned to power after last year’s elections and has since tried to bring Poland back into the European mainstream after nearly a decade of authoritarian rule under the populist Law and Justice party.

Poland, sandwiched between Germany and Russia, has long been aware of the importance of a strong defense. This year, Poland’s military budget was more than 4 percent of its GDP, double the NATO guideline. It also welcomed millions of Ukrainians who fled the Russian invasion.

Last weekend, Poland said a Russian cruise missile targeting Ukraine had entered its airspace – a repeated phenomenon in more than two years of war – and demanded an explanation from Moscow.

Despite Europe’s efforts to strengthen its defense, Tusk said the continent “still has a long way to go.” He said it must be “independent and self-sufficient in defense” while maintaining a strong alliance with the United States.

While US President Joe Biden has remained steadfast in his support for Ukraine, former President Donald Trump said last month that, if re-elected in November, he would encourage Russia to do “whatever it she wants” to any NATO member who does not meet. defense spending guidelines.

“Our job is to maintain transatlantic relations, regardless of who is president of the United States,” Tusk said.

Tusk also warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the terrorist attack on Crocus City Hall in Moscow as a pretext to escalate the war in Ukraine.

“We know from history that Putin uses such tragedies for his own purposes,” he said, recalling the events of 2002, when Chechen gunmen took 800 hostages at the Dubrovka theater in Moscow and in 2004, when Chechen rebels took 1,200 children and adults hostage at a Beslan school. , southern Russia.

“Putin has already started accusing Ukraine of being responsible for preparing this attack, even though he has not provided any evidence. Clearly, he feels the need to justify the increasingly violent attacks on civilian sites in Ukraine,” Tusk said.

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Gn world

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