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Poland mulls option to split Ukraine, to push for further escalation of conflict — expert

According to Andrey Bystritsky, Warsaw hopes that the "role of driving force" in this confrontation will make it more of a leader in Eastern Europe

MOSCOW, January 24. /TASS/. The Polish leadership will continue to push for the greatest possible escalation of the Ukrainian conflict, considering all possible outcomes, including the division of Ukraine.

Andrey Bystritsky, head of the Valdai Discussion Club Development and support foundation council, voiced this opinion in an interview with TASS.

According to him, Warsaw hopes that the "role of driving force" in this confrontation will make it more of a leader in Eastern Europe.

The expert drew attention to the statement of the former Polish Foreign Minister (2007-2014), Radoslaw Sikorski that the ruling Law and Justice party in Poland was considering the possibility of dividing Ukraine in the early days of the special military operation, when it believed that Kiev may fall. According to Bystritsky, "this cannot be ruled out."

"Poland is most interested in establishing and strengthening its leadership in Eastern Europe. Obviously, they are thinking about options where Ukraine, Belarus, and Baltic countries are to some extent in the area [of Poland’s control] - the Polish leadership is preoccupied with all this," Bystritsky said.

"Among the various possibilities for strengthening Polish leadership in this region and creating a special zone that would stretch from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea, there are scenarios where Ukraine will not be integral. This does not mean that this is the only option. But they are thinking about different options," the analyst went on.

According to the expert, this very desire for leadership in Eastern Europe explains Warsaw's belligerent rhetoric and why it is betting on escalating the conflict by pumping Kiev with weapons.

"Their most important goal is leadership [in Eastern Europe], what other goals would be required for this is a secondary issue for them. So, first of all, they are trying to play the role of this driving force and being to some extent a "substitute" for the United States," the expert said.

Bystritsky stressed that Poland has already managed to promote many decisions on the supply of weapons to Kiev. It should not be ruled out that they will manage to get a quick response from the German government about the transfer of Leopard tanks to Kiev.

"They have already achieved a lot. Therefore, they will continue to apply pressure," Bystritsky emphasized.

"The West, of course, is far from one hundred percent unity, but few dare to talk about this openly. <…>. At the moment, Poland is actively engaged in escalation. There is no doubt about it. And in this respect, it is quite effective. It is pressing with all its might, but it is difficult to say whether it will be strategically effective," the expert concluded.

About possible deliveries of tanks

On January 20, a regular meeting of defense ministers of about 50 countries was held at the American Ramstein airbase in Germany. After the meeting, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that the participants had not yet decided on the supply of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. As Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said, Warsaw will form an alternative coalition of countries ready to supply tanks to Ukraine if Germany does not agree to the transfer of armored vehicles. According to him, the republic has already decided to supply Ukraine with a tank company (up to 14 vehicles) and will act at its own discretion, regardless of Berlin's position.