Retired Polish General Recommends Shooting Down Russian Missiles Over Western Ukraine
17:29 GMT 20.06.2022 (Updated: 20:56 GMT 19.10.2022)
Warsaw has been one of Kiev’s staunchest supporters amid the escalation of the Ukraine crisis in February, taking in millions of Ukrainian refugees and calling on its EU and NATO allies to step up arms deliveries. Last week, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service repeated its earlier warnings that Warsaw may be out to annex western Ukraine.
Poland and NATO should shoot down Russian missiles flying over western Ukraine, and can justify doing so by citing the risk supposedly posed to their security, Brigadier General (ret.) and former National Security Bureau chief Stanislaw Koziej has suggested.
“Russian long-range missiles launched from the Black Sea, or with the help of strategic aviation that are flying toward NATO’s borders should be shot down at an appropriate distance away from this border,” Koziej said in an interview with Onet.pl.
The officer called Russian efforts to destroy the military equipment being sent to Ukraine by the West “unacceptable.”
“We are talking about dual-purpose missiles, because they are also capable of carrying nuclear warheads. When this is taken into account, we have an argument to take preventative measures and tell Russia that if it does not stop attacking our border with long-range missiles, from some point we will introduce anti-missile defences over Western Ukraine,” Koziej recommended.
Claiming that Russia has “lost” in Ukraine at the political and strategic level, the officer suggested that a a dark scenario could still befall Kiev in which Russian forces achieve victory in the Donbass, wrest control over Odessa, prompting the collapse of the Zelensky government and giving rise to one more inclined to improve relations with Russia.
“If Russia succeeded, this would prove a very dangerous situation for the West. On this wave of euphoria over the victory in Ukraine, the Russian people would be more determined in bearing the burdens related to sanctions, among other things. What would defeating Ukraine mean for Russians? That the West lost to Russia,” Koziej warned.
He went on to suggest that Russia could eventually go on to invade NATO – a notion Russian officials have repeatedly dismissed as an “absurd” and fantastical scenario.
Poland's Ukrainian Ambitions
Russian Foreign Intelligence chief Sergei Naryshkin has repeatedly accused Warsaw of plotting to annex parts of western Ukraine once controlled by Poland known as the Kresy, or ‘Borderlands’. Last week, he indicated that the “clique” in Kiev seems to have agreed to the transfer of sovereignty to Poland. Naryshkin cited statements made by Polish and Ukrainian leaders, as well as Poland’s curious move to host a backup data processing center for the state tax service of Ukraine on its territory, as evidence.
9 June 2022, 10:40 GMT
Ilya Kiva, a Ukrainian opposition lawmaker who was stripped of his mandate over comments in support of Russia’s military operation, reiterated his own concerns Sunday that Poland may take over western Ukraine, citing a speech made by President Andzej Duda in May that there would be “no more borders” between Poland and Ukraine, and Poles and Ukrainians would "live together on this earth, building and rebuilding our common happiness and strength, which will repel any danger or possible threat.”
“Poland is actively continuing its preparations for the seizure of western Ukraine,” Kiva wrote in a post on his Telegram page.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has also accused Poland of “dreaming” of Ukrainian lands, warning late last week that Minsk “will have to respond to this because we cannot allow the Poles to encircle us.”
“I once said that the Ukrainians would ask us and the Russians to help them maintain their [territorial] integrity, so that no one would chop off their territory,” Lukashenko said, adding that the Americans stood behind Poland, providing weapons and financing.