Poland's Leader Says His Country Is Ready To Host Nato Members' Nuclear Weapons To Counter Russia

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s president says the NATO member would be ready to host the nuclear weapons of the military alliances's other members in response to Russia’s moving its nuclear weapons to neighboring Belarus.

President Andrzej Duda made the comments in an interview published Monday in the Fakt tabloid.

Russia has “recently relocated its nuclear weapons to Belarus,” Duda said, in a reference to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko's announcement in December.

“If there were a decision by our allies to deploy nuclear weapons within the nuclear sharing also on our territory in order to strengthen the security of NATO's eastern flank, we are ready,” Duda said.

He said Poland is aware of its obligations within the 32-member alliance that includes the United States.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who shares Duda’s views on national security, later told journalists that Poland's security and military potential are his priorities, but he needs to discuss this suggestion with Duda urgently.

“I would also like any potential initiatives to be, first of all, very well prepared by the people responsible for them and (I would like) all of us to be absolutely positive that we want it,” Tusk said in a rather reserved response.

“This idea is absolutely massive, I would say, and very serious (and) I would need to know all the circumstances that have led the president to make this declaration,” he said.

Duda has previously spoken of Poland’s openness to nuclear sharing within NATO, before Tusk's government came to power in December.

In Moscow, a Kremlin spokesperson said any deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Poland would be met with steps necessary for Russia’s security.

“The military will, of course, analyze the situation if such plans are implemented, and in any case will do everything necessary, (will take) all the necessary retaliatory steps to guarantee our safety,” Dmitry Peskov said during a daily news conference.

Three NATO members are nuclear powers: the U.S., the United Kingdom and France.

Within the sharing program, the U.S has nuclear facilities based in some allied countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey, to deploy and store the weapons. Washington retains absolute control and custody over the weapons it deploys.

Seven members of the alliance have dual-capability aircraft that can carry conventional bombs or nuclear warheads and are available for use should such a strike be needed.

Poland is a staunch supporter of neighboring Ukraine as it fends off Russia's full-scale invasion, now in its third year.