‘It feels like 1939’: Europe is not ready for looming war with Putin, Poland's PM warns

30 March 2024, 11:32

Tusk said war is looming
Tusk said war is looming. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Europe has entered a "pre-war" era and is not ready for combat, Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk has warned.

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Mr Tusk said war was "no longer a concept from the past" after Russia launched an invasion against Ukraine.

"It's real and it started over two years ago," Mr Tusk said.

It comes after Russia launched a huge attack against Ukraine's energy system on Thursday.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk
Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Picture: Getty

Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted that his country has "no aggressive intentions" towards Nato countries, though leaders across Europe have warned their counterparts to prepare for war.

Putin has insisted on a number of occasions that it is "nonsense" to suggest he would attack Poland or the Czech Republic - both of which are Nato members.

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He has said, however, that Western F-16 warplanes used by Ukraine are "legitimate targets, wherever they might be located".

Mr Tusk's comments echo sentiments expressed by leaders across Europe, including French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently warned troops could be forced to join the war in Ukraine.

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron. Picture: Getty

Speaking in February, Mr Macron said: “We will do everything needed so Russia cannot win the war.

"We should not exclude that there might be a need for security that then justifies some elements of deployment.

"But I've told you very clearly what France maintains as its position, which is a strategic ambiguity that I stand by."

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Picture: Getty

Earlier in the year, residents of Western countries were warned to prepare for an all-out war with Russia within the next 20 years.

Admiral Rob Bauer said that although NATO and member governments are readying themselves for conflict with Vladimir Putin's regime, civilians must realise that they also have a role to play.

He told reporters that civilians would have to be mobilised in large numbers if war broke out, and governments would have to prepare for how to manage that process.

Adml Bauer, the chairman of NATO's military committee, said: "We have to realise it’s not a given that we are in peace. And that’s why we [Nato forces] are preparing for a conflict with Russia.

"But the discussion is much wider. It is also the industrial base and also the people that have to understand they play a role."