President, ministers review Russia-Ukraine conflict scenarios
Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, met with cabinet ministers on Tuesday to discuss potential developments if Russia decided to escalate its conflict with Ukraine.
The Polish head of state has the power to summon the ministers under the so-called Cabinet Council format do discuss the most serious internal or external matters.
"We have discussed the situation because we need to assume different scenarios and we've just discussed those different scenarios of what may happen in Ukraine, around Ukraine and of course in Belarus, which now hosts Russian military forces," Duda said.
The discussion also covered the problem of potential refugees from Ukraine in the event of a military conflict.
"Of course, among those scenarios... there was the problem of refugees who may be arriving in our territory in search of shelter, help and a safe haven," Duda said, adding that the officials considered ways to ensure accommodation for the refugees and the potential impact of the influx on Polish society.
"The ministers reported in detail on preparations for different potential variants," the president added.
"I want to assure everyone that Poland is preparing peacefully and consistently for different situations that may happen," Duda said. "I would like to stress that citizens can feel safe. There will be an appropriate reaction in any situation."
The president urged the ministers and the entire political scene to show unity in the face of crisis and called for international solidarity with Ukraine.
Recalling his telephone conversation with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, held earlier on Tuesday, Duda said he was going to hold similar talks with other heads of state in the coming days.
Duda will also host Lloyd J. Austin, the US secretary of defence, on Friday.
"We will talk about security, the US presence in Poland and the situation on Nato's eastern flank," the president said.
"I strongly believe that we'll be able to prevent a conflict and that the situation will be resolved through diplomacy, which we are now all striving to achieve," the president concluded.
Russia has massed more than 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine and has demanded concessions from Nato, including assurances that the bloc will not accept any new eastern members. Moscow and Minsk have also started joint military manoeuvres that are being closely watched by Nato.