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Europe in ‘pre-war’ era, warns Tusk, says ‘literally any scenario is possible’

by Chris York March 30, 2024 10:22 AM 2 min read
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw, Poland, on March 28, 2024. (PM Denys Shmyhal/Telegram)
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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has warned Europe is in a “pre-war” era and a situation “not seen since 1945.” He said the continent needs to step up defense investment amid the continuing threat from Russia and uncertainty over U.S. support.

In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt published March 29, Tusk said “literally any scenario is possible.”

“I know it sounds devastating, especially for the younger generation, but we have to get used to the fact that a new era has begun: the pre-war era,” Tusk said, adding: “I’m not exaggerating – it’s becoming clearer every day.”

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is the largest war in Europe since World War 2, with some of Kyiv’s Western allies ever-fearful of hostilities escalating beyond Ukraine’s borders.

Tusk’s comments were published on the same day that Polish and other allied aircraft were scrambled in response to a massive Russian missile attack against Ukraine.

In a previous attack on March 24, a Russian cruise missile entered Polish airspace for approximately 39 seconds. The Polish military said it did not shoot it down due to the risk to local civilians.

“I don’t want to scare anyone, but war is no longer a concept from the past. It is real, and it started over two years ago,” Tusk said.

“The most worrying thing at the moment is that literally any scenario is possible. We haven’t seen a situation like this since 1945.”

Tusk used the interview to push European allies to bolster defense spending, saying the continent still “has a long way to go” and must be “independent and self-sufficient in defense” in the face of ongoing uncertainty around the long-term commitment from the U.S.

The Polish PM also warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin may use the terrorist attack at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall earlier this month as a pretext to escalate attacks on Ukraine.

Tusk said Europe must be “independent and self-sufficient in defense” while maintaining a strong alliance in the US.

Tusk also warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall in Moscow as a pretext to escalate the war in Ukraine.

“We know from history that Putin uses such tragedies for his own purposes,” he said in reference to the Moscow Dubrovka Theater attack.

Despite no evidence of Ukrainian involvement and Islamic State taking responsibility for the attack earlier this month which killed 139 people, the Kremlin continues to attempt to link it to Kyiv.

“Putin has already begun blaming Ukraine for the preparation of this attack, although he has not provided any evidence,” Tusk said.

“Obviously, he feels the need to justify the increasingly violent attacks on civilian sites in Ukraine.”

Portrait of the Invader: 2 years of Russian soldiering in Ukraine
In two years of total war, Moscow has tried every trick to keep the death march going. It held a draft, expanded state-sponsored mercenary companies, recruited convicted prisoners, integrated proxies from occupied Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, and forcibly conscripted Ukrainians in occupied territor…
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