Amid ongoing hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, Poland has consistently taken among the most hardline positions in the Western world against Moscow and been a leading provider of support to Ukraine’s armed forces. On April 4 Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that there was little room for dialogue with Russia, harshly criticising European states which sought a negotiated solution and stressing that the only path to success was through “fighting” against Moscow. Characterising Russian policymaking as “pure evil,” Morawiecki said that only more extreme economic sanctions would be morally acceptable. Criticising French President Emmanuel Macron for pursuing negotiations with Moscow, the Polish leader stated: “How many times have you negotiated with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin? You do not negotiate with criminals, you fight them. Would you negotiate with Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot?” Morawiecki claimed sanctions would “break Putin’s war machine,” before calling out Germany for its substantial trade relations with Russia saying Berlin should listen to the voices of “innocent women and children, the voice of the murdered people.” “Anyone who reads the transcripts [of EU meetings] will know that Germany is the main stumbling block on the way towards very strong sanctions,” the Polish leader added.
Alongside the Baltic States of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, as well as Ukraine itself, Poland has taken the hardest line against Russia throughout the Western world. While more developed Western European economies have sought to balance geopolitical tensions with the need for stability and a robust trading relationship, and the United States has sought to refocus its attentions away from Russia and towards countering challengers to its dominance in East Asia, targeting Russia has been at the centre of Polish foreign policy efforts for years. The outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine on February 24 has strengthened Warsaw’s position to press the wider Western world to align with its own longstanding position on Russia. Polish ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski in March notably called for the dispatch of ground forces to Ukraine under NATO or some other grouping, which other Western countries have proven highly unwilling to consider due to the high risk that it would provoke a major war.