Only US can secure NATO's eastern flank: Polish FM

Foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz said the main threat to CEE is "the aggressive policy of Russia." Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Poland's Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said on Wednesday, before the kickoff of the NATO summit, that only the United States could guarantee the security of the eastern flank of NATO and that transatlantic unity must be maintained.

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The Polish foreign minister was speaking at a panel discussion with German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Turkey's top diplomat Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Mr Czaputowicz noted that the military alliance is undergoing a transformation to adjust to new dangers, but that they are perceived differently in Poland, the Baltic States and Georgia, which is not a NATO member.

For Central and Eastern Europe, he said, the main threat is "the aggressive policy of Russia."

The Polish foreign minister also emphasized that transatlantic unity must be maintained. "Only the United States can guarantee security to such countries as Poland - states on the eastern flank," he said.

Poland is also in favor of NATO working together with the European Union on security issues, Czaputowicz added, especially with regard to challenges in the south of the continent.

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Asked by Polish journalists to elaborate on the statement that only the US can guarantee the security of the eastern flank, Mr Czaputowicz replied, “That’s true, only the United States, because we are facing a military threat from Russia and European countries do not have sufficient potential for deterrence or for protection”.

The Minister added that Nord Stream, an offshore natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany provided Russia with resources that later enabled army modernization. “Russia attacked Georgia and later Ukraine”, said Mr Czaputowicz. He added that in his opinion Western European countries had made a mistake in their policies towards Russia.

“Now we are discussing Nord Stream 2, this is yet another mistake”, said Mr Czaputowicz referring to the project extending Nord Stream. He added that despite the opposition coming from many countries, the investment continues. “The United States see this problem”, said Mr Czaputowicz.