Poland will become NATO's leading defense spender in 2023 in relation to its economic size, owing around 4 percent of its GDP (many NATO states fail to make the 2% minimum, notably Germany). In March 2022, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed a new Homeland Defense law to increase the size of the Polish army to 300,000 soldiers. Russia has been watching this buildup with alarm and has previously accused Poland of seeking to annex Western Ukraine, despite Poland being at the forefront of aiding Ukraine.
Poland's Ambassador to France, Jan Emeryk Rościszewski, recently told a local broadcaster that his country can "enter the conflict" in Ukraine. The Polish Embassy then sought to explain his remarks, arguing that they were taken out of context.
Speaking to LCI on Saturday, Ambassador Jan Emeryk Rościszewski, stated that "it is not NATO, Poland, France, or Slovakia that is increasing tensions, it is Russia that has attacked Ukraine; it is Russia that invaded [Ukraine's] territory, it is Russia that kills people, it is Russia that kidnaps Ukrainian children."
"If Ukraine fails to defend its independence, we will have no choice but to enter the conflict," he added, saying: "our fundamental values, which are the cornerstone of our civilization, our culture, will be in fundamental danger, so we don't have a choice." Polish parliamentarians from the left accused the ambassador of being irresponsible and incompetent and of dragging Poland into a war with Russia.
In response to such criticism, the Polish Embassy in Paris released a statement denying that the ambassador announced possible Polish involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, and was merely pointing out that if Ukraine falls, Poland will be Russia's next target.
"During a half-hour conversation, Ambassador Rościszewski argued for the need for allies to support Ukraine. He also spoke about the threat Russia poses to Europe and European values," wrote the embassy.
"Listening carefully to the whole conversation makes it clear that there was no announcement of direct involvement by Poland in the conflict, but only a warning about the possible consequences if Ukraine is defeated," it added.
"Seeking sensational content that is incongruous with Poland's consistent efforts over the past year to help Ukraine win this conflict and prevent it from spilling over into Europe and Poland should be regarded as ill will."
Polish Ambassador to France Jan Emeryk Rościszewski (Source: Rp.pl)
In Russia, the poet and columnist Igor Karaulov pounced on the incident in an article titled "Polish Militarization Poses a Fundamental Danger for Europem," playing on the historical enmity between Russia and Poland. On the one hand, he reminded the Poles of the partition of Poland in the Eighteenth Century and hinted that this disaster for Poland could recur. On the other hand, he sought to rouse Poland's neighbors against the dangers posed by a heavily armed Poland that may occupy their territory. He even intimated that Poland posed a threat to Germany and that the Germans should take the Polish demand for reparations as a harbinger of Polish ambitions at Germany's expense.
Karaulov's column follows below:
Polish armor on parade (Source: Gov.pl)
"A statement by one Jan Emeryk Rościszewski, who claims to be Poland's Ambassador to France [—] saying that in the case of Ukraine's military defeat, Poland will have no other choice but to enter into the armed conflict [—] was promptly rebutted by some other Poles, albeit not on the highest level.
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"From this, one can conclude that Mr. Jan's opinion, at least for the time being, is not the official stance of the Polish state. However, one cannot turn a blind eye to this statement, at the very least because it was obviously made not without a reason, and reflects the perceptions and aspirations of a certain segment of Polish society, what is more, a significant and far from marginal segment.
"The 'voice' of this segment comes not only from the Polish Embassy in Paris, but also from radio intercepts in Donbas, where Polish speech is markedly present on the Ukrainian side of the front, and in some areas, Polish is completely prevalent.
"These are Polish mercenaries who are fighting and dying by the thousands on the side of the ZSU [The Armed Forces of Ukraine], but it is not clear whether they do it for money, for Ukraine, just to do something against Russia and the Russians, or for some fourth reason. Since much in Russo-Ukrainian-Polish history repeats itself, one can argue that the prototype of these mercenary units were the [Alexander] Gonsevsky and [Alexander] Lisovsky gangs, that plundered Russia in the early seventeenth century.
"The [current Polish gangs] are apparently engaged in the same business as the 'Lisovchiki' [members of the Lisovsky gang]. Online reports say that the mercenaries are looting Orthodox churches in the Ukrainian-occupied part of Donbass and selling antique crosses and icons on the dark net. There is no doubt that Polish veterans of the conflict, 'hardened' by murder and looting, are all in favor of their 'craft' being supported, expanded, and intensified by the regular Polish army.
"It should be recalled that almost the entirety of last year's spring was spent in anticipation of the entry of Polish units into western Ukraine, either with the objective of confronting Russian troops, or of occupying the fragments of the 'Kresy Wschodnie' [Eastern Borderlands]. Specific deadlines were mentioned, and forecasts were made as to how we [Russia] should react to this.
"However, as summer of 2022 approached, the fighting was limited to the new Russian regions in the former east and west of Ukraine. The idea of Polish intervention dissipated by itself. Today's resurgence of the idea demonstrates that conversations, at least, are happening among high-ranking Poles [according to which] the so-called offensive by the ZSU is doomed to fail, after which the Ukrainian resistance will be crushed.
"However, it is unlikely that such talks are taking place in Poland alone, which is preoccupied with defending the 'European values' of Banderaism [support of Ukrainian nationalist and wartime Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera] and Satanism.
"I believe that the sponsors of the Kyiv regime in the U.S. and the EU are already conducting preliminary casting for the role of the people who will be thrown into a 'furnace' of armed struggle once the very 'last Ukrainian' (whom they pledged to fight for) falls on the battlefield or sticks a bayonet in the ground in an act of surrender (we, naturally, wish him the latter). Some candidates for this role are already desperately adopting warlike postures and belligerently shaking their grandfathers' battle axes.
"Let's look at recent news from Moldova. There they hinted that they don't mind solving the Transdniestria issue by force. Or, for instance Georgians who, flushed with the wine-induced spirit of freedom, shouted in the squares of Tbilisi: "[March] on Sukhumi, on Sukhumi [in the Russian protectorate of Abkhazia]!"
"Lithuanians, in general, upon recovering from their next hangover, are ready to lunge at Russia with their entire countless horde. The Poles' advantages in this competition between idiots are quite obvious: they are numerous, they enjoy quite a decent army, and on their side is the centuries-old history of anti-Russian and anti-Orthodox rage. However, there are also moments which should theoretically, make Poland's Western partners wary.
"The Polish state ceased to exist in the 18th century not as a result of a military defeat to a stronger rival; as all that could have been lost, had been lost previously.
"The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was simply divided by its neighbors: Prussia, Austria, and Russia. It must be agreed that this is the most humiliating way of liquidating the country. The great powers of that time simply decided: "we don't need such a country anymore, there is no fundamental reason for its existence." Now it seems that there was some blunt truth to this partition: they got what they deserved.
"Back then, Poland appeared redundant on the 'European chessboard,' as a failed empire, which was unable to realize its ambitions.
"Today, Poland protrudes from the European structure, much like Turkey, the difference being that Turkey has never been a Soviet bloc country, and for this reason in particular, its joining the EU was not rushed, but only to NATO. Poland and Turkey are now pursuing parallel courses following the phantoms of lost empires. But if the hypothetical strengthening of Turkey does not threaten the European core, the same cannot be said of Poland.
"Let's imagine that the viewpoint of Mr. Rościszewski prevails among Polish leadership. And suppose the plans of the Polish revanchists become a reality. The world will see a Poland with expanded territory, at the expense of Galicia [once part of Poland, now Ukraine], with a military armed to the teeth and possessing combat experience. Who will be threatened by such a Poland, will it be only Russia and Belarus?
"No, it will threaten Germany too. It is not without reason that relatively recently, Polish authorities raised the issue of reparations from Germany for the damage inflicted upon the country during the Second World War.
"Back then, it seemed a senseless impertinence, but now I'm beginning to suspect even a certain amount of foresight [on the part of Poland]. What's more, Germany will face such a threat in a weakened state, without Russian energy resources, humiliated by having to grovel before the U.S. and stymied by its pro-immigrant, pro-gender, and pro-environment agenda. Nothing good will come to the German people, unless they support Polish ambitions.
"What's more, a threat will appear against the Czech Republic as well, won't it? From the latter, Poland has already snatched Teshinskaya Oblast (Teschin), while Hitler was occupying the Sudetenland. Meanwhile, it may be possible to strip Vilna from Lithuania. Why wouldn't they? Why waste time on trifles?
"Whoever argues that this sounds like baseless fantasy should reflect on the fact that we are discussing real historical precedents. All this has already happened in history, not that long ago. NATO strategists are very happy that they have managed to turn Ukraine into a battering ram against Russia. But Ukraine is isolated from its sponsors by an eastern European buffer [Poland]. Playing on the militarization game of Poland would be fundamentally more dangerous for them. However, I'm afraid that appealing to the self-preservation instinct of the European ruling elites is pointless these days."
Igor Karaulov (Source: Smotrim.ru)
 Thefirstnews.com, February 28, 2023.
 Thefirstnews.com, March 12, 2023.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9867, Russian Media Harps On The Polish Factor In The Ukraine Crisis, April 1, 2022.
 Notesfrompoland.com, March 20, 2023.
 Vz.ru, March 24, 2023.
 Obviously, in Poland, Alexander Lisovsky the leader of the "foxes" a skilled cavalry general, who gave the Russians fits with his raids, has a different reputation.