. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Poland Rejects Russian Security Offer


WARSAW -- Poland rejected Russia's suggestion of possible security guarantees Friday and said it intends to go ahead with seeking full NATO membership.

Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov said Friday that Moscow will consider its response when Poland becomes a NATO member.

Russia has vehemently opposed Poland's application to join the Western alliance, saying NATO's expansion eastwards will threaten Russia's security interests.

"Certain difference in views on NATO expansion remained, but the discussion was profitable because now we know each other's arguments," Primakov told a news conference at the end of a two-day visit.

Asked what Moscow will do when Poland joins NATO, Primakov replied, "Russia will think it over."

Russia has been trying to veto the move, which NATO members say is just a matter of time.

In an attempt to find a compromise, Primakov repeated Russia's earlier suggestions of a compromise solution, under which countries in the region would give up seeking NATO membership while obtaining security guarantees from both the West and Moscow.

But Poland flatly rejected the idea.

Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati, pointing to the West's failure to defend Poland at the start of World War II despite guarantees from Britain and France, said Warsaw was determined to maintain its course. "Poland is determined to fully join NATO as only this can guarantee its security," he said.

Primakov said Russia wanted to have the best possible ties with NATO, in the interest of peace and stability in Europe, but that it was "against Russia's interests" to move NATO's borders closer to Russia.

He denied Russia had asked Poland for an "exterritorial road corridor" through northeastern Poland to the "Kaliningrad enclave."

Last month, Polish media reported Russia had made such a request, raising fears and recalling the transport corridor to the Baltic port city of Gdansk that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler made through Poland before the war.

"Russia never thought that it can have some corridor in a foreign country, depriving its authorities of a part of its territory," Primakov said. He confirmed, however, that talks have been underway since 1992 on expanding the existing roads in the northeastern tip of Poland to increase Russian transport to and from Kaliningrad.

Primakov also said Friday that Poland's former prime minister Jozef Oleksy, accused by the security services of spying for Moscow, has had no links with Russian intelligence.

"There have been no spying links between Oleksy and Russian intelligence," he said.

Primakov, head of Russian counterintelligence from 1991 to 1996, said he had asked subordinates about the affair. "My officials told me there is no Oleksy case, and I think they did not lie to me," he said of the time when he was KGB head. ()