The Polish president has accused Barack Obama of betraying Poland by cancelling a promised missile defence system.
Reflecting Warsaw’s long-standing anger over the 2009 cancellation of a controversial Bush-era antiballistic missile system President Bronislaw Komorowski said Poland should build its own missile shield to ensure national defence.
“Our mistake was that by accepting the American offer of a shield we failed to take into account the political risk associated with a change of president,” said Mr Komorowski in a magazine interview.
“We paid a high political price. We do not want to make the same mistake again. We must have a missile system as an element of our defences.”
Last week, Mitt Romney used a visit to Warsaw to condemn Russia as a “country where the desire to be free is met with brutal oppression” in a bid to establish hawkish credentials ahead of the US elections.
The Republican candidate has accused President Obama of “abandoning Poland”by cancelling the missile defence plan in order to aid his much-criticised attempt to “reset” relations with Moscow.
Mr Obama’s decision to scrap George W Bush’s original missile shield dismayed the Polish government, especially as many Poles saw it as an attempt to appease Russia, Poland’s historical and Cold War foe.
Later US pledges to place a Patriot missile battery in Poland, and elements of the SM-3 interceptors which will replace the Bush system, failed to eradicate the perception in Warsaw that Polish interests
had been sacrificed for the benefit of Washington-Moscow relations.
By wishing to avoid another “mistake”, Mr Komorowski has questioned the long-term viability of the US made SM-3 system, which is intended to secure Nato’s eastern flank from missile attacks launched from the Middle East.
Stanislaw Koziej, head of Poland’s National Security Council and a former defence minister, said any Polish missile system would be integrated into Nato systems. He added that while the American
system will defend Poland it was also created, he claimed, to suit the needs of the US, and therefore a national system was needed.