Will Poland go rogue?Thu 1:54 pm Europe/London, 31 Mar 2022 1
Two weeks ago Kaczynski offered that Poland now intended to seek NATO permission to send its military to the Ukrainian city of Lviv in order to establish humanitarian corridors that would allow Ukrainian refugees who were escaping west to safely enter Poland. There are many problems with this, but the most important, beyond NATO Article 5, is that Lviv is not on the Polish/ Ukrainian border as many western reporters have claimed. Lviv sits eighty kilometres to the east, firmly inside Ukrainian territory.
Lviv’s true proximity makes Kaczynski’s claim of “humanitarian” efforts as duplicitous as was his offer of used Russian fighters the week before. If this was done, and should a single Polish military member be attacked, injured or killed by Russian forces- allegedly or under false pretences, Article 5 would require NATO to immediately enter the war on behalf of defending, not Ukraine, but Poland!
NATO, again, rejected this madcap plan for obvious reasons. Kaczynski did not. Why?
Reports from the refugees, aid agency workers and journalists who have been embedded in Lviv have told this reporter that although they have seen and heard bombings and rocket strikes in and around Lviv, they have not witnessed or reported any civilian targets being hit or any civilian casualties. The mayor of Lviv confirmed this publicly in a post on Telegram this past Saturday after his city took at least six strikes on Friday night just hours after Biden’s war-torn speech in Warsaw while Kaczynski sat watching in the wings.
Have the Russians also been listening to the streets?
While I Prowled the streets of Warsaw talking to as many people who either spoke English or Polish within the time that my excellent translator Andrew could provide to me, the answer to this most important question, “why Poland?” became more clear.
A Deputy Prime Minister’s Iron Hand
Jaroslaw Kaczynski is deputy prime minister of Poland and leader of the Law and Justice (PiS) party. According to those I spoke with he is far more powerful behind the scenes in Poland than current Prime Minister Andrezej Duda and exercises a strong, almost authoritarian hand over parliamentarians and particularly all things military.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s twin brother, Lech Kaczynski, was formerly the President but died in a plane crash at Smolensk, Russia, in 2010 along with many other Polish political and military leaders. Evidence indicated this crash was indeed an accident, but in the current Kaczynski’s mind it was a Russian hit, hence he detests all things Russian, in particular Vladimir Putin.
The current plot thickened when, on March 15 from Kyiv, Ukraine Kaczynski stated,
“I think that it is necessary to have a peace mission—NATO, possibly some wider international structure—but a mission that will be able to defend itself, which will operate on Ukrainian territory.”
Kaczynski’s NATO offering called for sending 10,000 NATO troops from the member states to cross the Polish border and occupy Lviv while also imposing a no-fly zone. Like his first offer of MIG-29s NATO turned it down flat. But Kaczynski may go it alone.
During my many interviews with Ukrainian refugees who had arrived from Kyiv and many other western cities and towns via Lviv and then onwards to Warsaw, only one reported being accosted by any of the limited military factions roaming western Ukraine. Ana, with her small son and daughter, had made it out of Kyiv by train in the dead of night just past 2 AM. The train had all its lights out and moved slowly westward. Suddenly, several windows of the train were shot out by rifle fire. This caused all aboard to hit the deck. Fortunately, no other shots were fired and the train and her family made it safely to Lviv and then on to Warsaw.
Regarding the journey from Lviv to the Polish border, I did not speak to anyone who had problems along the way. Humanitarian aid flows in regularly while refugees flow out. To the East, it is quite another matter.
So, Kaczynski’s desire to provide “safe passage” corridors seems merely a ruse to serve other intentions. Why?
Regardless, Polish President Andrzej Duda vetoed his idea as NATO did as well.
According to the Poles I spoke with, Duda and Kaczynski do not agree very much regarding Polish military matters. However, it is Kaczynski who has the real power in Poland which he has built up over many years. Reportedly he has contempt for Duda and works behind his back to affect his agenda. It is the ulterior motive here in Poland that some that I interviewed think may see Kaczynski effect his “Humanitarian Effort” regardless of NATO approval which Duda demanded, but Kaczynski does not think is essential.
Considering Bidens rhetoric that whipped those Poles in attendance into a frenzy on Friday night, this speech certainly served Kaczynski’s agenda, not that of peace.
To understand the possible entry of Poland it is important to consider the last ten years under Kaczynski’s ever-growing power. Certainly, he is far more aligned with the war hawks of NATO than Duda which should not be surprising.
Poland, under Kaczynski’s tutelage, has declared that it wishes to be the strongest military power in Central Europe. In 2020 the Polish government pledged to “radically increase” the country’s defence capabilities and to expand the Polish Armed Forces to a staggering 300,000 personnel. Current numbers are, respectively, 113,000 regular active servicemen and women and 32,000 TDF, the equivalent to the National Guard.
Kaczynski has declared this expansion a state of emergency in national defence saying,
“The security conditions have deteriorated so much that Poland, as a frontline state, has no choice but to radically re-arm itself and become one of the best European armies…”
Accordingly, Poland now plans to increase defence spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2026, using a funding scheme that includes bonds, loans and leasing options. The PiS-led cabinet already is among NATO’s top spenders (2.2% of GDP in 2022). This year’s military spending stands at 57.7 billion zlotys, or 12.5 billion euros, which will consume 12 per cent of the country’s budget.
As stated by the Defence Ministry, the military modernisation plan until 2035 has a price tag of 524 billion zlotys (115 billion euros), but details have not been made public. The increased spending also does not require parliamentary approval, let alone a referendum, even for the largest procurement items. All that is required is the signature of Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, one of Kaczynski’s right-hand men.
Blaszczak has routinely signed purchasing requests that include “made in the USA”. Patriot air and missile defence systems, F-35 stealth fighters, HIMARS rocket launchers, Black Hawk helicopters (made in Poland by Lockheed Martin) and even used MRAP vehicles from Afghanistan, all since becoming defence minister in 2018.
An Abrams tank procurement, that has recently arrived, will be the most substantial so far at a cost of 23 billion zlotys (5 billion euros). Tank warfare is perfect for the flatlands of Western Ukraine. In all this, Blaszczak is clearly making Poland dependent on Washington.
Poland’s Ulterior Motive?: The Lviv Connection
760 years old, Lviv City is situated on the crossing of two profitable ancient trade routes. It developed and flourished rapidly and became one of the main trade centers of medieval Europe. It is reportedly a beautiful city full of the architecture of many influences including Austrian, Ukrainian and Polish since at various times in history all three laid claim to Lviv.
Lviv became part of Ukraine when taken by the Ukrainians from Austria in November 1918 with the creation of the West-Ukrainian People’s Republic and the unification with Great Ukraine. But Lviv became Polish from 1919 to 1939 and Polish culture via immigration put a Polish stamp forever on Lviv that remains strong today. This takeover only served to intensify the resistance of the Ukrainians and consolidate them in the fight for a return of Lviv to Ukrainian sovereignty.
In September 1939, as a result of collusion between Stalin and Nazi Germany, Lviv became a part of the Soviet empire and with Ukraine being a USSR satellite it was returned to Ukraine under the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement.
Here lies the rub, or possibly Kaczynski’s ulterior motive in repeatedly dangling a means for NATO to enter Ukraine during the past few weeks.
The Poles have never been happy with the Soviet land grab that included Lviv and this is yet another reason they detest all things Russian. In talking with several Poles they would like to see Lviv returned to Poland, but the reality that this would require war has meant that it was just not worth the sacrifice.
But a return of Lviv has always remained in mind. This was evidenced in 2018 when a fringe Polish political party, The Confederation of Independence and Freedom Party, managed its historic and largest, yet relatively insignificant, number of seats in the Polish Parliament. Part of their platform is the return of Lviv. Certainly, these parliamentarians do not have the influence to drive Poland to war, but their platform does indeed show that the return of Lviv remains firmly in the minds of the Poles and their politicians.
Until a month ago such grand designs were opposed due to the need for a war to accomplish them. Now, that war is on the border and for the opportunists who may wish to reap the spoils of this war this may be their moment of opportunity. According to the streets, Kaczinsky himself sees this war as a chance not seen since the annexation of 1939.
Should NATO or the Polish military enter Ukraine via Polish borders the eighty kilometres to Lviv will be breached in a matter of hours since there is very little available Ukrainian defence with all forces dedicated already eastwards. Similar to 1939 the Polish/ Ukraine border could be redrawn once the current war turns into an armistice. Possession being 9/10th of the law during any ceasefire, this advent could see Lviv sit again on newly re-marked Polish soil.
Cease-Fire? Or, Not?
When closely examining the news that a cease-fire and peace negotiation are going well, this is as much a lie as the war has brought to bear so far. The news seems more designed to placate Wall Street and the current economic disasters of war rather than accurate reporting.
Yes, negotiations in Turkey has seen both sides sit down together but news that the Russian contingent has “accepted” Ukraine terms turn fact on its head while at the same time torturing the definition of the word.
The Ukrainian terms are laughable and it is not possible that Russia will approve them since to do so is an admission of defeat and a waste of military, political and human capital that would shame Russia before the world community. Its citizens who have been watching the body bags pile up for thirty- four days would be outraged.
It is far more accurate to say that the Russian contingent has received the Ukrainian proposals and is laughing all the way back to Moscow for further instructions. It is important to note that Russia, beyond its oft-repeated terms for a cease-fire has not at this point, delivered its own proposal to the Ukrainian side.
The Russian response will most certainly be summed up by using only the sixth and twenty-first letters of the English alphabet.
In the meantime, Russian troops will be getting R&R while resupplying and thankfully so will the refugees across Eastern Ukraine. As to the Ukrainian military, they will remain surrounded or under siege across the Donbas from Mariupol, to Luhansk, to Donetsk.
Meanwhile, NATO will continue to attempt to find an avenue for legitimizing its escalation and entry into Ukraine.
For the reasons stated on the streets of Warsaw and in this article, it is more than mere conjecture that the “Hot Phone” sitting on the desk of Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski may soon be ringing off the hook!
Dedication: For Andrew. (Proof that good never rests until the evils of war a vanquished.)
Author’s Note: This is Part Two to my multi-part series coming from the conflict zones and refugee camps of Poland, Russia, Crimea and Ukraine. Please help spread the word by posting each on social media of your choice. Peace! By Brett Redmayne Titley (Extract from longer article)
TAP – Kaczynski believes Putin or Russia caused the plane crash that killed his brother. Why would Putin do that to a Poland that was not favourable to, and moving away from the EU? The usual suspects were doing all they could to mess up Russia at the time, and the CIA are far more likely to be behind a suspicious air crash, in my opinion, killing the entire Polish nationalist government which wanted an independent future.
Why was the whole Polish government loaded onto a single plane anyway? Poland were no doubt doing as requested by NATO.
Putin indeed helped in the cover up, and stopped the information from emerging as to who carried out the murder of the whole Polish government. Maybe Putin thought playing along with NATO and the EU at that time would enable Russia to stay unmolested for longer. Russia was far from being strong enough to face a war with NATO at that moment in 2010, needing all of the intervening years to rebuild the navy, air force, tanks and missile weaponry.
The second Kaczynski now the VP has clearly learned it’s better to please NATO/EU than try to look for independence.
But is he mad enough to take on a war with Russia as NATO are hoping he might?
The Russians might well trade Lvov for a peaceful life, but what of Hungary’s interest in Lvov? Hungary sound a lot more Russia friendly than Poland is sounding.
Poland would need to wind down the rhetoric and open up diplomatic channels with Russia or Hungary might beat them to the prize.
VERY interesting, Tap. thank you for the article and your comment.