Polish official: Europe can’t defend itself without the US

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Poland’s foreign minister said Tuesday the current security crisis on the continent shows that Europe can’t defend itself without the United States, but that NATO members in the region should take more responsibility for their own protection.

“Poland perceives the engagement of the United States in European security as a fundamental condition of peace in Europe,” Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau told a gathering of Polish ambassadors, in comments carried by the state news agency PAP.

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He credited US leadership in NATO as being key to a decision for a “rapid and effective adaptation to the Russian threat in 2016.”

It was then that NATO increased its presence on the eastern flank of NATO following Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014 and its support for pro-Moscow insurgents in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US this year deployed more soldiers to Poland and is using the country as a hub for weapons going to help the Ukrainians.

“The current crisis clearly shows that without the United States, Europe cannot defend itself,” Rau said.

He expressed gratitude to Washington, but said it shouldn’t have to take “all the responsibility,” which also “rests on the shoulders” of European allies.

Read more: State Department confirms US citizen killed while fighting in Ukraine

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