BRATISLAVA, April 15 (Reuters) - Poland Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said on Friday Russia has the potential to destroy countries and therefore poses more of an existential threat than groups like the Islamic State.
Speaking at a security conference in Bratislava, Waszczykowski reiterated Poland's call for the deployment of NATO troops on the alliance's eastern flank, saying he hoped a July NATO summit in Warsaw would approve such moves.
"We have existential threats and non-existential threats. Of course the Russian activity is kind of an existential threat because this activity may destroy countries," he said when asked which security challenges he saw as existential.
"And we have non-existential threats like terrorists, like massive wave of migrants."
"It is a very important threat but it is not an existential threat for Europe," he said when asked specifically about the Islamic State group.
A former Soviet satellite, Poland has been alarmed by Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in 2014 and its support for armed separatists in eastern Ukraine, and remains one of Moscow's staunchest critics.
Waszczykowski said he hoped the July NATO meeting would address what he said was an inferior level of security on its eastern flank.
"We expect presence, presence, presence. Presence of military troops from different NATO countries could be a symbol of determination to defend the eastern flank. We can discuss the scale."
Russia says deployment of significant NATO forces close to its borders would violate the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act. (Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova and Jan Lopatka; Editing by Dominic Evans)
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