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“It cannot be ruled out that the Russian appetite will grow”

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From a young communist leader, Kwasniewski turned into a builder of the post-Soviet Poland we know today. After defeating historic trade unionist Lech Walesa in 1995, Kwasniewski made his country a member of NATO, overcoming fears that this expansion might displease Moscow, and later managed to join the EU.

Elected as the candidate of the Alliance of the Democratic Left, the sister party of the Portuguese PS, under his leadership Poland continued its transition to a market economy with mass privatization over two terms.

After years of the neo-liberal politics so fashionable at the turn of the 21st century, Kwasniewski will be replaced by Lech Kaczynski, who ushered in the rise to power of the ultra-conservative Law and Justice party that still dominates Polish politics.

Today, Kwasniewski sees in Ukraine a demonstration of the Russian danger that he has always warned about, and reminds that “NATO’s motto “Surveillance is the price of freedom” is no less true than it was 50 years ago.” He views Germany’s difficulties in getting rid of Russia’s energy dependence as proof that “even such large and rich countries as Germany are not immune from bad decisions.”

But he admits that Polish natural gas reserves “will not be able to cover more than one to one and a half months of consumption in winter.”

To what extent is Poland afraid of being drawn into the war by Russian aggression?

Poland is a neighbor of Ukraine and has become a logistics hub for international military assistance to the Ukrainian government. Warsaw is also the second largest supplier of military equipment to Ukraine after the United States, including tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and artillery.

Along with the Baltic states, Warsaw is recognized as the most persistent opponent of Vladimir Putin’s aggressive policy in Europe. All this puts Poland in the first place among the countries that are threatened with escalation, however unlikely.

However, I would say that the risk of “dragging” Poland into the war, in the sense of direct military intervention, is limited. Poland is a member of NATO and the EU, and these organizations are working together to support Ukraine. Any individual action directed against Russia would be adventurous, which I would not expect from any European country at the present time.

Of course, in the long term, it cannot be ruled out that Russia’s appetites will increase, trying to restore the Soviet Union and arranging provocations, for example, against the Baltic states. This is especially likely if the war in Ukraine ends on a positive note from Putin’s point of view.

Thus, the decision taken at the June NATO summit to support the eastern flank with a stronger presence of NATO forces is quite legitimate. The NATO motto “Surveillance is the price of freedom” is no less true than it was 50 years ago.

In addition, Poland and other states have embarked on a comprehensive rearmament program to strengthen our armed forces and increase resilience to any potential aggression.

Do you think that some European countries, such as Germany, are too soft on aggression because of their energy dependence on Russia?

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There is widespread disillusionment among Eastern and Central Europeans about the pace and level of German involvement in Ukraine’s military support, given Berlin’s economic and industrial potential.

Personally, I would have some reservations about joining this club. Nor will it limit the reasons for Germany’s reluctance to abandon its energy dependency. Berlin has a long and painful history with Russia and other former Soviet republics of massacres and unprecedented war crimes.

This painful memory of the extremely tragic war in the east still hangs over the German conscience, and is also associated with a much stronger and more widespread pacifism in society than in other European states. Germany is also a great democracy, very open, with a culture of debate.

Thus, the change in policy towards Russia, which actually dates back to the 1970s, does not happen overnight. But it happens. Berlin slowly began to adapt to this new reality, because it began to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine. But from the point of view of Central Europe, the perception of Germany as a reliable ally is bound to suffer.

But there are countries in Europe that exactly fit your description, such as Viktor Orban’s Hungary.

He openly disputes energy sanctions against Russia and has created an exception to European restrictions on imports from Russia.

Is there a way for Europe not to suffer from energy shortages anytime soon without Nord Stream 1? How prepared is Poland for this? Or neighboring countries?

If Russia really stops deliveries via Nord Stream 1, experts say that gas shortages cannot be avoided this winter, the situation will stabilize only next year. Much will also depend on how severe the winter will be and on the economic situation in Europe, where growth or recession will also determine gas demand levels. Anticipating a difficult situation, the EU decided at the last European summit to limit gas consumption to 15%.

Poland rejected Russia’s demand to pay for natural gas in rubles, and therefore gas imports from Russia to Poland were completely stopped by Gazprom. The only Russian gas currently imported by Poland goes through Germany. The capacities of gas storage facilities in Poland have already been exhausted for the winter, but their total capacity is rather small and will not be able to cover more than one to one and a half months of consumption in winter.

Poland has also opened the Baltic Gas Pipeline, a new pipeline that comes from Denmark and Norway, but there are still no gas purchase contracts to fill it even more than 50%. Thus, the situation is serious, and it will probably be difficult to avoid limiting gas consumption, especially in industry, without Russian natural gas this winter. But this is the reality that most EU countries currently face.

The situation in Poland is exacerbated by a shortage of coal, which is at record prices. Given that coal is used to heat homes, this has already become a huge social problem that could have serious political implications.

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How do you feel about the reluctance of governments in southern Europe, such as Portugal, to accept the demands of Brussels in the energy sector, arguing that it is not your fault that the rest of Europe has not got rid of its energy dependence on Russia?

Well, in the political sense, of course, it’s a shame, considering that solidarity should be one of the main basic values ​​of our union. But, of course, as a politician, I can understand this reluctance and its reasons, especially since one of the countries that suffer the most is Germany, which has been one of the most staunch supporters of “energy interdependence” with Russia. But energy commodities are global, and their scarcity will have long-term consequences for all of us, whether it be Portugal or Poland, and a sense of “gloating” [alegria com o infortúnio de outros, em alemão] should be abandoned very quickly. But the lesson of this crisis can give strength and courage to the less prosperous states of eastern and southern Europe, showing that even large and rich countries like Germany are not immune to bad strategies and decisions. I hope that learning this lesson will help curb national pride and strengthen the EU as a whole.

What do you think of Emmanuel Macron’s tendency to call for dialogue with the Kremlin?

France has a long history of dialogue with Moscow, which President Macron is trying to build on. Because of this history, Paris always tries to stay active. This activity is not bad, and even commendable, if accompanied by a broader approach to obtaining support and consultation from the rest of the EU and the US. I cannot confirm whether Macron made such an effort to coordinate his actions with other major players in the West.

In general, it seems to me that Paris, like Berlin, overestimated its capabilities in the fight against Putin and the situation in Ukraine. What matters to Putin today is pure power in its most basic sense, and he sees Russia playing at the same level as the US and China. Relations with Paris and Berlin are useful in an economic sense, but in a political sense for Russia this is less important than relations with Turkey and Israel. So I wasn’t surprised to see Putin yawn during conversations with Macron or Scholz. In other words, from Putin’s point of view, Macron can mediate or put pressure on Zelensky, but ultimately he cannot deliver what Putin wanted from Ukraine. Therefore, their efforts are in vain, despite the most altruistic aspirations of the French President.

In your opinion, is there any other way to end this conflict other than a complete victory for Ukraine? And if so, how far should Ukrainian forces go? Should they try to take the entire Donbass? Krymer? Even an advance in Russia?

There are many scenarios for the end of the war in Ukraine, up to the total victory of Ukraine or Russia. All of them are plausible, but some are less likely than others. The important question is what would be an acceptable outcome for Kyiv. I am not afraid of what would be acceptable to Moscow, Putin is able to change the course of his propaganda in order to present almost any result as a success.

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I am sure that Kyiv will make at least one big effort, a big offensive, to try to win back the territories in the south, in the regions of Kherson and Zaporozhye. These are territories recently occupied by Russia, which are of great economic and political importance for Ukraine, including the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

If they could do it militarily, forcing the Russians to retreat to Crimea and the Donbass to the east would be a huge success and probably the biggest success Kyiv could ever achieve. It is hard to imagine that Ukraine will be able to militarily retake Crimea, which after 2014 has become a stronghold of Russia. I am also not sure that the recapture of the entire Donetsk and Lugansk regions cost human lives, but this is up to the Ukrainians. In other words, if the Ukrainians, with the support of Western weapons, were able to push the Russians more or less to the pre-February 24 borders, and the Russian army could not launch a counteroffensive, this could create the basic conditions for a ceasefire. .-longer fire.

On the other hand, if the expected Ukrainian counter-offensive fails, and Kyiv suffers huge human and material losses, not achieving its strategic goals in the south, this will also create some conditions for a ceasefire. But a longer peace treaty, leaving more than 20% of Ukrainian territory under Russian occupation, is unacceptable to any Ukrainian government. Unfortunately, we are far from peacetime, and the Ukrainian people will face very difficult months or even years.

Is there a way to make peace with Putin in power?
Yes there is. We can’t replace Putin with someone nice, and peace agreements are usually signed with enemies, not friends. The international community must enforce such a peace agreement and guarantee Ukraine’s future security. We cannot allow Putin to rebuild his military power in a few years and decide to start a new war to take over all of Ukraine.

However, do you see Putin leaving power soon?
Only citizens of Russia can answer this question. Among the factors that could undermine Putin’s position in the long term, above all, the deep economic crisis. In the short term, this will be the need for compulsory military conscription and the resulting youth protests, especially in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Or an uprising of generals who understand that this war is pointless and are afraid of being arrested for lack of success. Or maybe even shares of oligarchs close to Putin who are losing their financial empires.

I do not believe that information about Putin’s health is collapsing. He is turning 70 and probably less healthy than he would like to be, but healthier than we would like.



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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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