FM calls for strong Nato response if Russia goes nuclear in Ukraine

Albert Zawada/PAP

Poland's foreign minister has said Nato should use "devastating" conventional force if Russia uses nuclear weapons in its war in Ukraine.

Speaking in an interview with NBC's 'Meet the Press NOW' during a visit to Washington on Tuesday, Zbigniew Rau said: "To the best of our knowledge, (Russian President Vladimir - PAP) Putin is threatening to use tactical nuclear weapons on Ukrainian soil, not to attack Nato, which means that Nato should respond in a conventional way, but the response should be devastating. And I suppose this is the clear message the Nato alliance is sending to Russia right now."

The foreign minister said Russia may use referendums in occupied Ukrainian territory to "justify extraordinary means" to defend annexed regions.

Rau also commented during the interview on Russia's mobilisation, saying Putin was clearly losing the war and that sending "poorly trained and poorly equipped" recruits was unlikely to change its course, bearing in mind that Ukrainian forces have previously managed to defeat professional Russian soldiers.

He argued, however, that the mobilisation may be a breakthrough moment "on the Russian domestic front," undermining support for the war among the country's general population.

"Now, every Russian family will have to take their own position towards the war, knowing that their loved ones can be sent there and they can be killed there," Rau said. "I believe this is going to be a longer process, but the direction of this process has already been determined."

Asked about fatigue in Poland over accepting Ukrainian war refugees, Rau said: "We in Poland have solidarity in our DNA."

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