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War looms for Europe, warns Poland’s Donald Tusk

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“I don’t want to scare anyone, but war is no longer a concept from the past,” said Polish prime minister.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk warned that Europe is in a “pre-war era” but still has a “long way to go” before it’s ready to face the threat ahead.

“I don’t want to scare anyone, but war is no longer a concept from the past,” Tusk said in an interview with several European media outlets. “It is real, in fact it already started more than two years ago.”

Tusk said what’s most worrying right now is that “literally any scenario is possible,” adding that Europe has not faced a situation like this since 1945.

“I know it sounds devastating, especially to people of the younger generation, but we have to mentally get used to the arrival of a new era,” he said. “The pre-war era. I don’t exaggerate. This is becoming more and more apparent every day.”

Amid Russia’s ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which started in February 2022, Western allies and top military officials have become increasingly worried about a potential spillover of violence — despite Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly denying any intentions to attack NATO.

Last week, a Russian missile entered Polish airspace, prompting Warsaw  to activate F-16 fighter jets, in what Tusk called a “troubling incident.”

But while tumult is on the horizon, Tusk warned that Europe is not ready to face the threat.

“We must be ready. Europe still has a long way to go,” he said. The first step is for countries to meet NATO’s target of spending 2 percent of their GDP on defense, he added.

“Today we have to spend as much as we can to buy equipment and ammunition for Ukraine, because we are living in the most critical moment since the end of the Second World War,” he said. “The next two years will decide everything. If we cannot support Ukraine with enough equipment and ammunition, if Ukraine loses, no one in Europe will be able to feel safe.”

At the same time, Tusk welcomed the attitude adjustment that has prompted some European leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, to ring the alarm bell more loudly.

“When I was prime minister for the first time [2007-2011], nobody except … Baltic states paid any attention to my warnings that Russia could be a threat,” he said. “Now, without particular satisfaction, I observe the changes that are taking place in all capitals in Europe.”

With U.S. presidential elections coming up at the end of the year, European leaders have grown increasingly concerned over the likelihood of another Donald Trump presidency, fearful he would withdraw from NATO and obstruct further assistance to Kyiv. But to Tusk, Europe’s role remains unchanged no matter who’s next in the White House.

“Whether [U.S. President] Joe Biden or Donald Trump wins the next election, it is Europe that needs to do more when it comes to defense,” Tusk said.