POLAND’s Ambassador to the UK gave a blunt message to President Putin when he visited BU this week: Keep your bombers away.
Mr Witold Sobkow was speaking exclusively to The Rock after Russian military planes flew off the Bournemouth coast last month.
The Russian aircraft were escorted away by RAF Typhoon jets. Mr Sobkow said: “This is our appeal to Russia. Do not do this because it is simply dangerous – do not test us this way.”
He added: “If you respect international law, if you play by the rules, everything can be done. “The will of the people can be respected but if it is not done properly then we have problems. So my advice would be to respect international law.”
Though the Russian aircraft did not enter UK airspace, Mr Sobkow expressed concern that the incident off the South Coast posed danger to civilian aircraft.
The Polish Ambassador was visiting BU to give a lecture on Anglo-Polish bilateral relations. Lees lecture theatre was full to hear him urge the UK to remain in the EU due to the special links the UK shares with Commonwealth countries.
He said: “The UK is the heart of Europe and Britain provides the balance in the European Union.” While visiting BU he toured the Media School facilities. In his far-ranging interview with The Rock he also discussed the Ukraine crisis, the Scottish referendum and the Eurozone.
Ukraine must give peace a chance to restore order in the nation says Polish Ambassador to the UK Witold Sobkow.
In discussing the crisis in Ukraine on a visit to BU, Mr Sobkow emphasised the need for peace. He said: “We think that only united international efforts would lead to peace. But of course we believe in a diplomatic and peaceful solution, not the military one.”
“Civilians cannot die in this conflict so we want to stop it as soon as possible and abide by the rules and respect international law and find an acceptable solution to the conflict.”
In balancing Poland’s relationship with Ukraine and Russia, Mr Sobkow said: “We support the sovereignty of Ukraine, it’s a sovereign country it can make its own choices.
“But we are not an enemy of Russia, this is a huge strategic neighbour of Poland and also of other countries so we want to find a suitable solution, preferably a diplomatic one.”
In response to questions over whether sanctions against Russia could influence the crisis, Mr Sebkow suggested this was the only option.
“If not sanctions what can we have? Provide arms? Then we have an open military conflict in the middle of Europe perhaps even a global conflict, this is not in our interest,” said the Polish Ambassador.
He added: “We have ideas regarding other sanctions in the future but we hope that the position of Russia will be such that we are not going to use those sanctions, that we can have a proper ceasefire; stop the fighting, withdraw the heavy arms from both sides and stop the suffering of people.”
As well as deliberating the crisis in Ukraine, Mr Sobkow also discussed Poland’s adoption of the Euro. He said: “We will join because it’s about political integration. We could influence EU policies much better being a member of the Eurozone than being outside the zone.
“We want to be a part of this in the future because the most important decisions will be made in the Eurozone so that is why we want to influence them.”