16:03 GMT05 December 2020
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    Commenting on the continuing buildup of NATO forces on Russia's borders, including a decision to beef up the rapid response force, and the announcement that the US would deploy heavy equipment in six Eastern European states, including Poland, Vice Admiral Marek Toczek told Sputnik that the dangerous escalation could have catastrophic consequences.

    "I consider this to be another step in the escalation of tensions in the situation which has developed around [the conflict in] eastern Ukraine, Toczek stated. "I have always considered that such situations must be resolved exclusively via diplomatic talks," he added.

    The Polish Navy veteran turned-politician stated that "this conflict cannot be resolved by military means, especially given the scale being considered. Either this is saber rattling, or a harbinger of something that can affect the people of Eastern and Central Europe, and not only them, –a harbinger of extreme catastrophe of a kind humanity has never known. In Poland there are many people –their numbers difficult to estimate in percentage terms, but very likely a majority, who are against these sorts of political decisions."

    Toczek noted that Polish officials' enthusiastic approval of the initiatives to station equipment on Polish soil is aimed in part as a pre-election measure ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections this fall. "I do not believe that this is the way to resolve the conflict, and, by and large, I am very concerned that the leadership of my country is resolved to take such steps and such actions," the official noted.

    Asked to comment on the contradictions between NATO's recent announcements and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's statements earlier this month that Russia does not pose an "immediate threat" to any NATO country and that "our aim is to cooperate" with Moscow, Toczek responded by noting that he is convinced "that we are dealing here with a manifestation of a kind of schizophrenia. Not in relation to the politician who uttered these words –it's difficult to disagree with him. However, pressures from various lobbies, which operate surreptitiously, and which are difficult to identify, result in informational chaos, and this also results in a poor understanding of what is truly going on by a significant portion of society."

    Marek Toczek served in the Polish Navy between 1965 and 1996, rising to the rank of Vice Admiral in 1994. In the mid-1990s, he left the navy and became the president of the Polish Front, running for a seat in parliament during the 2001 parliamentary elections on the party list of the Alternative Social Movement. Since then, he has been a vice president of the social democratic Polish Labour Party — August 80.

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    Tags:
    NATO, escalation, military buildup, Marek Toczek, Russia, Eastern Europe, Poland
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