- Germany will soon be left without a fleet of nuclear-capable bombers. The new government in Berlin must decide to replace them and continue to participate in the system. Some of the politicians forming the new coalition are opposed to such a solution
- Ambiguous declarations are of concern to allied states. Last week, the US administration sent a special envoy to Germany
- Can nuclear weapons go to Poland? Last year, the then US ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, raised a discussion on this topic
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The NATO nuclear weapons sharing agreement provides for the provision of American nuclear warheads to European NATO countries that do not have them. In addition to Germany, these are Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey.
As part of the NATO doctrine nuclear sharing Germany must be ready for a nuclear response in the event of the enemy’s use of such weapons. According to unofficial reports, up to 20 US B61 tactical nuclear bombs are at the Buchel air base in Rhineland-Palatinate.
Meanwhile, the service life of the German nuclear-carrying Tornado bomber fleet is coming to an end and the new German government must decide whether it wants to continue to be NATO’s partner on this issue. Some politicians from the SPD and the Greens, the groups that will form the new coalition, talk about breaking off cooperation.
The Financial Times reported that the ambiguous attitude of the new ruling team was causing concern among allied states, especially in the face of tensions in relations with China, Russia and Belarus. The Joe Biden administration sent Senator Chris Coons to Berlin last week. Also, high-ranking French and British diplomats are to stay in touch with German politicians.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is visiting the country, was asked about the future of Germany in the program.
– I expect Germany to continue to participate in nuclear sharingbecause it is important for the whole of the European defense framework. An alternative to sharing nuclear weapons within NATO are various types of bilateral agreements. Germany can, of course, decide whether there will be nuclear weapons in the country, but the alternative is that nuclear weapons can easily find their way into other European countries, including east of Germany, Stoltenberg said.
Nuclear weapons in Poland?
The discussion about the possible transfer of American B61 nuclear bombs from bases in Germany to Poland has been going on for many months. Such a possibility was suggested by the US ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher. “If Germany wants to reduce its nuclear potential and weaken NATO, perhaps Poland could adopt this potential at home,” she stated in May last year.
The matter was commented on by, among others the then German ambassador to Poland Rolf Nikel (“Speculation is useless”) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (“The shift would be a direct violation of the Russia-NATO agreements”).
Poland suggested an interest in gaining access to nuclear weapons. In 2015, Deputy Minister of National Defense Tomasz Szatkowski stated that the government was “analyzing and considering” participation in the NATO program nuclear sharing. In 2019, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jacek Czaputowicz, did not rule out that in the future nuclear weapons would “ensure peace in our part of the world”, but any decisions regarding the place of their stationing remain at the sole discretion of the Alliance.
Currently, our country does not have any aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and Polish pilots are not trained in this regard. There are also no suitable warehouses with equipment. There are also no American units in Poland that could use nuclear weapons in an armed conflict.