After Kamala Harris, Joe Biden is rushing to Poland this week. The fear regarding NATO being drawn into a conflict with Russia if Russian president Vladimir Putin’s aggression spills over from Ukraine and ends up affecting Poland.
Poland has grown increasingly restless following Russia’s war in Ukraine. It surprised Washington earlier this month when Poland said that it would support Ukraine by sending in a fleet of MiG jets to defend its airspace. The US rejected the proposal calling it untenable.
During the meeting between Polish president Andrzej Duda and US vice president Kamala Harris more than 10 days ago, Duda urged the Biden administration to increase support to Poland and its other eastern European allies. “I was perfectly aware of the fact that an aggressive Russia… would not stop only attacking Georgia in 2008 and attacking part of Ukraine in 2014. I knew that this appetite, this imperial appetite will grow,” Duda said in the presence of Harris.
Poland again shocked the US and NATO last week when it proposed to organise an international peacekeeping mission in Ukraine at an emergency NATO summit in Brussels. NATO was quick to reject it and the US rejected the plan this Sunday, according to the New York Times.
The idea was first discussed when the leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia travelled to Kyiv to meet the Ukrainian leadership. “I think that it is necessary to have a peace mission — NATO, possibly some wider international structure — but a mission that will be able to defend itself, which will operate on Ukrainian territory,” Polish deputy PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski proposed this idea in Kyiv which immediately sent the NATO and the US into an alarm. The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told CNN later that the US will not send troops to Ukraine but refused to speak much on the Polish proposal. “I can’t preview what decisions will be made at this NATO conference and how NATO will respond to the Polish proposal,” she was quoted as saying.
The White House statement says that Biden will visit Poland to discuss ‘humanitarian and human rights crisis that Russia’s’ war on Ukraine has created but there are chances that he might be in Warsaw to assure ally Poland that the US will not abandon them in face of Russian might.