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Europe has entered 'pre-war era,' Poland's Tusk says

March 30, 2024

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has warned that "literally any scenario is possible" and that Europe entered the pre-war era when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Poland's Prime Minister, Donald Tusk speaks at a press conference
Tusk's comments come soon after the two-year anniversary of Russia invading UkraineImage: Omar Marques/Getty Images

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk warned that there was a "real" threat of conflict in Europe and that the continent has entered a "pre-war era" for the first time since World War II.

"War is no longer a concept from the past. It is real, and it started over two years ago. The most worrying thing at the moment is that literally any scenario is possible. We haven't seen a situation like this since 1945," Tusk said in an interview with the European media grouping LENA on Friday.

World War II ended in 1945 with the surrender of Hitler's Germany and the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"I know it sounds devastating, especially for the younger generation, but we have to get used to the fact that a new era has begun: the pre-war era. I'm not exaggerating; it's becoming clearer every day."

The former European Council president's comments came soon after the two-year anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The war upended an era of peace in Europe and pushed nations into ramping up weapons production.

Tusk further said that no one in Europe would feel safe if Kyiv lost the war. 

How Ukraine's war became Germany's watershed moment

A common defense

The Polish prime minister noted a revolution in European mentality, as no one anymore questions the need for a common defense.

He presented the example of Germany's largest parties, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), which are "competing to see which of them is more pro-Ukrainian." 

"The European Union as a whole, as a powerful organization, must be mentally prepared to fight for the security of our borders and our territory," he said.

The need for a stronger Europe has come further into the spotlight as former US President Donald Trump, who is running for the 2024 elections, has openly expressed NATO-sceptic views.

 "Our job is to nurture transatlantic relations, regardless of who the US president is," Tusk said in the interview. 

Russia's war on Ukraine: No strategy in the West?

mk/sms (AFP, DPA)