By: Álvaro Peñas
Interview with colonel Tomasz Kośmider, Ph. D., director of the Security Sciences Institute and professor of the Academy of Justice in Warsaw, and a former director of the State Security Institute and professor of the National Defence University in Warsaw.
The war in Ukraine has been going on for more than three months now, how do you think the conflict will develop?
It depends on many factors: on the Ukraine’s determination, and the international community’s support for Ukraine.
In my opinion it would not be a good solution to force Ukraine to recognize Russian territorial acquisitions – after February 24, 2022. Such this policy usually makes the aggressor impudent. The policy pursued in Munich before the Second World War is a good example of this.
Poland is very committed to helping Ukraine. Can Poland maintain that amount of support?
Poland is the country that has been the most committed to Ukraine by hosting millions of refugees. Surely it’s a great challenge for Poland and requires the support of Poland’s activities from the EU.
The war has also closed old wounds between Poland and Ukraine.
Everything indicates that a new chapter in Polish-Ukrainian relations is opening, which will be characterized by cooperation, and in addition, a new nation is being created in Ukraine as a result of the war. Ukraine no longer needs to use history and anti-Polonisms to build its own identity.
Some in Western Europe do not understand the firmness of Poland’s stance and accuse it of warmongering. Why does Poland feel threatened by Russia?
In Russian politics dominates argument of force, not force of argument.
In 2022 we celebrate the 250th anniversary of the first partition of Poland, which started the collapse of the Polish State in the 18th century. The existence of the Polish State ended in 1795 after a series of invasions and partitions of Polish territory carried out by the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and the Habsburg monarchy. From 1795 until 1918, no truly independent Polish state existed. The opportunity to regain sovereignty only materialized after World War I, when the three partitioning imperial powers were fatally weakened in the wake of war and revolution.
The Second Polish Republic was established in 1918 (in 1919 Russia attacked Poland – Battle of Warsaw 1920) and existed as an independent state until 1939, when Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland, marking the beginning of World War II (Ribbentrop-Molotov pact – another partition of Poland). Soviet Union conquered Poland after 1945.
Russia has dominated the region since at least three centuries and Russia has been pursuing an aggressive policy, ignoring interests of neighboring countries. Russia does not keep its commitments. Unfortunately, Russia is the aggressor…
Before the outbreak of the war, Poland had already embarked on an ambitious expansion and modernization of its army. What did this reform consist of?
In the modernization of military equipment and the expansion of the army’s strenght. Included the Territorial Defense Forces wich are a fundamental part of the Polish Armed Forces.
The Polish Defence Ministry’s plan is to increase the number of enlisted men and officers from an estimated 110,000, plus 30,000 soldiers in the WOT Territorial Defence Force, to 250,000 enlisted men and officers and a 50,000-strong territorial force, through changes in training procedures and the legal organisation of the reserve, along with a pay rise to encourage young people to join the army. Due to the war in Ukraine the Ministry of Defence will receive 3 per cent of GDP from 1 January 2023, last year it was 2.3 per cent. Among the new equipment acquired by the Polish army is the agreement with the United States for the purchase of 250 Abrams battle tanks.
How is the relationship of the Polish society with its army and has this relationship changed in the last years?
In my opinion, Polish society is proud of its army. Society-military relations have long been very good, Polish army has high social ratings as a guarantor of national sovereignty.
Many consider that this war has awakened Europe to reality, countries like Poland were already awakened, but do you think that this awakening has also reached Western Europe?
I think that the awakening of Europe takes place in a limited dimension. I understand, that for the countries of Western Europe business issues are important. Politics must be rational.
Can Europe build a universal security message? It’s a very important problem.
Does Europe know how to build peace, a Europe not terrorized by irresponsible players such as Russia, which is destabilizing the world order?
Source: El Correo de España