Poland ‘key’ in Western weapons supplies to Ukraine

As Poland becomes a logistical hub for weapons supplies into Ukraine, Hungary said it would not allow lethal weapons to transit its territory.

“The reason for making this decision is that such deliveries might become targets of hostile military action,” Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Monday (28 February), stressing that Hungary should not get involved in the war between Ukraine and Russia.

Several European countries, including most notably Germany after dropping its opposition, have committed to send weapons to Ukraine for Kyiv to defend itself against Russia’s invasion.

In response, Russia’s foreign ministry said on Monday that those supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine would bear responsibility should they be used during Russia’s military campaign there.

The ministry added that the EU’s steps regarding military aid would not be left without a harsh response.

Poland has offered to work as a logistical hub to transfer military equipment and help channel them into the western part of Ukraine not yet occupied by Russian forces.

However, some media reports in Poland over the past days raised the alarm about Russia trying to cut off Ukraine from its border with Poland to effectively stop weapons transfers.

”It would also risk cutting off tens, hundreds of thousands of civilians who are now waiting in huge queues to cross our border. It would be an act of unimaginable genocidal barbarity,“ Paweł Soloch, head of the National Security Bureau, told Polish Radio 1.

The EU had imposed an airspace ban for commercial flights in and around the area of conflict and effectively walled off Russian carriers such as Aeroflot from the shortest routes west, forcing them to head south as far as Turkey to go around.

This comes after a ‘no-fly zone’ proposal had been pushed forward by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy since Ukraine currently does not control its own airspace.

According to Ukraine, enforcing a no-fly zone over the country would prevent Russians from bombing its territory and help transfer western military equipment.

However, both NATO and the US have rejected such a scenario.

“It would essentially mean the US military would be shooting down planes, Russian planes,” US White House spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, told on MSNBC on Monday.

“That is definitely escalatory… That is not something the president wants to do. Those are all the reasons why that’s not a good idea,” she added.

Military experts also point out that NATO planes patrolling Ukraine skies would not be an option since it would constitute a major risk of incidents or engagement, which effectively could cause them to trigger Article 5, NATO’s mutual defence clause if a Western plane is harmed.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told NBC on Monday that the alliance’s members have “no intention” of enforcing a no-fly zone over Ukraine since they would “have a responsibility to make sure that this doesn’t spiral out of control that escalates even further into concern for full-fledged war in Europe involving NATO allies.”

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