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“Devastating”: leader Putin’s dark warning

The leader of a major European country that would be on the front line in any future conflict with Russia has issued a chilling warning.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters on Friday that war in Europe posed a real threat.

He urged countries to spend more on defense to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I don’t want to scare anyone, but war is no longer a concept of the past,” Mr. Tusk said.

“It’s real and it started more than two years ago,” he added, referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Putin has denied plans to invade NATO countries.

Poland and Russia have clashed many times over the centuries. The USSR invaded Poland in 1939, and at the end of World War II in 1945, Poland was brought into Moscow’s orbit as an Eastern Bloc nation.

In 1989, communism fell in Poland and the country is now democratic and part of the European Union and NATO’s Western defense pact.

‘Devastating’

Poland shares a border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and Belarus, a close ally of Moscow.

If a clash between Russia and NATO were to break out, it could occur on or near Polish territory.

Mr Tusk said this meant it was a greater concern for his country than for other countries further away from Russia.

“We are living in the most critical moment since the end of the Second World War.”

He added that if Russia beat Ukraine, no one in Europe would feel safe, the BBC reported.

“Literally all scenarios are possible.

“I know it seems devastating, especially for younger generations, but we have to mentally get used to the arrival of a new era.

“Pre-war times,” Mr. Tusk said.

Warsaw now spends 4% of its GDP on defense, proportionately more than many countries, including the United States.

He urged European countries to work together to combat the Russian threat and to discourage Moscow from any military action against them.

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Putin: “The idea that we are going to attack Poland… is nonsense”

Putin insisted last week that Russia posed no threat to NATO countries.

Addressing Russian Air Force pilots, he said: “we have no aggressive intentions towards these states.”

“The idea that we are attacking another country – Poland, the Baltics and the Czech Republic – is completely absurd. It’s just nonsense. »

Putin added that if Western countries sent F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, they would be shot down.

Moscow has stepped up its aerial bombardments against Ukraine in recent weeks, targeting energy infrastructure in response to deadly Ukrainian attacks on regions bordering Russia.

Overnight on Friday, kyiv said it had shot down 58 Russian drones and 26 missiles.

Ukraine warned on Friday that Russian air attacks put its electricity supplies under “increasing threat”, hours after strikes damaged power plants and killed at least one person.

Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said the strikes showed Ukraine urgently needed more air defense systems, a demand kyiv has repeatedly made of its Western allies as its energy sector buckles under pressure.

Conscription campaign in Russia

Russia will begin calling up tens of thousands of troops next week as part of a conscription campaign aimed at rebuilding its armed forces and building up its military reserves.

Moscow says conscripts are not sent to fight in Ukraine, but the conscription – which takes place twice a year – comes amid persistent rumors of a new wave of mobilization for the Ukraine offensive.

“The spring selection will take place from April 1,” Deputy Head of the Mobilization Department of the Defense Ministry Rear Admiral Vladimir Tsimliansky said on Friday.

Some 147,000 conscripts were drafted during last year’s spring drafts. The military did not say how many people it was targeting this year.

Russian men aged 18 to 30 can be called up after politicians raised the upper age limit from 27 last year.

Military service lasts 12 months.

Conscripts face intense pressure once in the armed forces to sign voluntary military contracts that allow them to be sent to fight in Ukraine.

New concerns

Russia says it recruited more than 400,000 people for its campaign last year, with the Defense Ministry offering high salaries to fighters.

He has been accused of focusing recruitment on Russia’s poorer ethnic regions and republics.

Once conscripts have completed their military service, they become part of the Russian military reserves and are likely to be sent to the front if they are mobilized in the future.

Rumors of mobilization have persisted since the Kremlin forcibly recruited more than 300,000 in the fall of 2022.

Putin said in December that a new wave was “not necessary,” pointing to the success of recruitment efforts.

But his re-election earlier this month – combined with the Defense Ministry saying it would create two new armies by the end of the year and the Kremlin pointing the finger at Ukraine for the deadly attack on last week against a Moscow concert hall – all sparked new concerns. .

with the AFP.

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