10 October 2019

INTERVIEW with Polish General (r.) Jaroslaw Strozyk: The common threat against Romania and Poland comes from Russia | VIDEO

Andreea Soare

The Polish General (r.) Jaroslaw Strozyk has stated, in an interview for the Defence and Security Monitor, that the common threat against Romania and Poland comes from the East and is Russia’s aggressive behavior in the last period.

Brigade General (r.) Jaroslaw Strozyk has talked, in an interview for the Defence and Security Monitor, within the D.S.M Conference “The national security policy, from strategic thinking to security and defence institutions”, about the common threats against Romania and Poland, referring to Russia’s aggressive behavior in the last period.

Also, the Brigade General (r.) has underlined the importance of having a consensus between state’s political parties in order to strengthen the national security and not offer Russia the possibility to interfere and destabilize the country. Furthermore, Jaroslaw Strozyk talked about the necessity of having a professional approach of national security, to involve, as much as possible, those to have experience in the field.

We are presenting you the entire interview with Brigade General Jaroslaw Strozyk:

Reporter: Given that the topics debated today are related to national security, how would you broadly descried Poland’s overarching approach to security?

General (r.) Jaroslaw Strozyk: We have many similarities with Romania regarding the national security approach and we are very similar since we have joined NATO. Poland joined NATO five years earlier than Romania, but then we cooperated as much as possible to have a common view on current issues. But, I would say that Poland made some mistakes in recent years, so Romania, now, is in the lead of approach to the right thinking about national security. The main topic of each discussion on national security should be a kind of agreement, a consensus between the political parties about national security. And I strongly believe that in Poland we do not have, nowadays, such consensus between the political parties. We have too much debates, we have too much discussions and that’s detrimental to the national security.

Reporter: Which would be the common threats against both Poland and Romania and how could these be better addressed in terms of national security?

General (r.) Jaroslaw Strozyk: Of course that we strongly believe that the common threat is coming from the East. It is the way Russia is behaving since, at least, 2008, from the time of aggression against Georgia. And, then, we had the same aggression situation against Ukraine, so we believe that this is the outside threat which we could have in common. But, at the same time, what I have said before: we have to be very clear about our national discussion and we have to find the consensus, the bipartisan approach from political parties. That’s exactly what Russia is thinking and counting; that our internal discussions within our countries will be so dynamic that they can gain some advantages of that. Sometimes Mrs. Putin can sit on the chair, put his feet on the desk and wait what happens in our country, how politicians can discuss the issue, can quarrel, can argument between them. So, that’s why we have to have the professional approach, and to listen, as much as possible, to professionals. Not only to military people, not only to generals, but to those who have experience in this matter for the last 30 years, after communism’s collapse. This is the major approach to national security.

Reporter: Why do you think that despite the increased investments in national security there is still a persistent feeling of insecurity in Central and Eastern Europe?

General (r.) Jaroslaw Strozyk: This is an interesting discussion. We always say that the NATO budget target should be 2% of GDP. So this is like a mantra, like a myth. We know that 2% of Romanian GDP, 2% of Polish GDP is not the same with 2%, or even 1.5%, of German GDP. So, I would prefer to have 1.5% of German GDP than for the national defence than 2% of Poland’s GDP. So, this is the problem. And it is never enough in terms of money, in terms of wise spending and wise procurement of equipment from many nations. And we also have to invest into our national system, national industry, as much as possible, but this is very tricky and not an easy task to do.

Reporter: Now getting back to Russia, how do you see Russia’s latest actions in the Black Sea Region? Do you think Russia is trying to increase its control in this region?

General (r.) Jaroslaw Strozyk: Russia is using every tool to destabilize each region, and there is no doubt about that, Romania is one of those regions, including Ukraine, of course, Turkey, which strongly cooperates nowadays with Russia; it is really the region they would like to destabilize and to see its frozen conflicts, to be awakened. As you have some national issues within the nation, Turkey as well, maybe Poland, but not so much. But speaking about the Black Sea Region I would say it is a very dynamic region for possibilities of eruption of the threat and Russia is doing its best to destabilize it. Maybe not so much in terms of specific actions, but by putting some “sticks” to the places where there is a possibility of growing threat.

Reporter: How should NATO respond to such threats?

General (r.) Jaroslaw Strozyk: NATO is a tricky organism and it should really take care of each business but, of course, that’s not possible. NATO, as we know, is a body where consensus is being made on each issue, but it should really use the money allocated into the NATO budget for the investments into the Romanian, Polish, Lithuanian national defence system. I am quite happy about NATO’s latest actions, but there is still a growing dilemma, I would say, at NATO: what happens if one of the members is attacked and how long it will take for NATO to take measures if Article 5 is invoked?

Reporter: Do you think Romania is vulnerable to cyber-attacks now, before the elections? Or all the time?

General (r.) Jaroslaw Strozyk: Each country has elections. We have elections Sunday, in Poland, and I believe Russia is looking at all possibilities, including the cyber-attacks, for each nation. Perhaps not a certain cyber-attack, but to influence the elections, to have the impact on the elections, like they did on a different scale with the US 2016 elections. So this is, as you rightly mentioned, a steady approach of Russia: they try to use some groups, to influence the current situations in your country, in Poland, and in other Central and Eastern Europe states.

Reporter: Thank you!

General (r.) Jaroslaw Strozyk: Thank you!