A nuclear weapon button
Poland is considering asking for access to nuclear weapons through a Nato programmeiStock

Poland is weighing up whether to ask for access to nuclear weapons to defend itself via a NATO programme. If successful, it would allow Warsaw to borrow arms from the US through a nuclear sharing initiative.

Polish deputy defence minister, Tomasz Szatkowski informed the country's media that the country is considering whether it should join the programme. At present, five Nato members are participating in the scheme: Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Turkey.

Out of Nato's 28 member states, only Britain, France, and the US have nuclear weapons, with the latter the only country to give weapons to allies for nuclear sharing. The reports come amid rising Polish concern at a resurgent Russia to the east.

Szatkowski's comments were made on 5 December to the private broadcaster, Polsat, and it is reported to be the first time that a Polish official has said that the country wishes to be a part of the programme. Szatkowski said that "theoretically, nuclear weapons could be located in Poland", but a political agreement is required.

According to a report in the Warsaw Business Journal, Poland's Ministry of Defence released a statement on 5 December denying that it is in talks to take part in the nuclear sharing programme. The statement said that it is not engaged in any work aimed at joining Nato's nuclear sharing program. The comment by the deputy minister should be set in the context of recent remarks made by serious Western think-tanks, which point to deficits in Nato's nuclear deterrent capability on its eastern flank".