Times of peace are over, PM tells Italian daily

Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has put an end to an era of peace and international order, the Polish prime minister told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview published on Monday.

Mateusz Morawiecki said Russia's attack warranted "a strong and appropriate" response from the West, including severe sanctions on Moscow and military reinforcements on Nato’s eastern flank.

He added that the EU should raise its defence budget to EUR 500-600 billion.

The prime minister warned that the Russian-Ukrainian war was a test for the West, and its outcome will determine Europe's future for decades to come. He added that Putin's policy was directed not only against Ukraine, but the whole continent.

"Putin's aggressive conduct is aimed against us all... He began in Georgia, now it's Ukraine's turn, and the next target could be the Baltic states, Poland, Finland, and others in the East," Morawiecki admonished.

He added that he did not believe the current conflict could escalate into a major war owing to the West's superiority over Russia.

"The West's material advantage is beyond debate, regardless of the resources Putin has amassed from gas and oil sales. We know he has strengthened his army, but if need be, our response can be much more destructive," he said.

Morawiecki stressed that the present situation called for the EU to raise its defence budget from the current EUR 300 billion to EUR 500-600 billion, and gave his assurance that Poland was prepared to take in any number of war refugees from Ukraine, even if it went into millions.

Russia invaded Ukraine from three directions on Thursday, but the Kremlin's plans for a rapid conquest and replacement of the Ukrainian government with a puppet regime has failed, with Russian forces encountering fierce Ukrainian resistance. 

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