In an interview with Reuters, Duda hit back at comments by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who last week described East-West relations as descending “into a new Cold War” and said NATO was “hostile and closed” toward Russia.
“If Mr Medvedev talks about a Cold War, then looking at Russian actions, it is clear who is seeking a new Cold War,” Duda, allied to Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) said in an interview in his presidential palace in Warsaw.
“If someone is undertaking aggressive military activities in Ukraine and Syria, if someone is bolstering his military presence near his neighbors … then we have an unequivocal answer regarding who wants to start a new Cold War. Certainly, it is not Poland or the NATO alliance.”
The West says it has satellite images, videos and other evidence that show Russia is providing weapons to anti-government rebels in Ukraine, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Russia denies such accusations.
Poland has long been one of the fiercest critics of Russian actions and PiS is especially mistrustful. It wants a summit in Warsaw this year to bolster NATO’s presence in central and east Europe by positioning troops and equipment on Polish soil.
Duda reiterated Polish ambitions for an “intensive” NATO presence on its territory to be agreed at the July summit, which would be “tantamount to a permanent presence” — an arrangement that would be assured by troop rotations. Some NATO allies are reluctant, out of concern over the cost and the further deterioration with Moscow that would be likely to result.