Poland’s move to strengthen military is response to ‘aggressive’ Russia
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland’s efforts to strengthen its military are a response to aggressive policies by Russia, its giant neighbour to the east, Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said on Wednesday.
Mariusz Błaszczak (centre)
His comments came a week after the Polish and US presidents signed a deal under which America will station around 1,000 extra troops in Poland, a staunch military ally fearful of Russia.
Błaszczak told public broadcaster Polish Radio on Wednesday that Russia was "pursuing an aggressive policy."
As evidence, he cited the "attack in 2008 on Georgia", "in 2014 on Ukraine" and the transformation of Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, bordering Poland to the northeast, “into a militarised zone and positioning Iskander missiles there."
Błaszczak told Polish Radio: “What we are doing now is a reaction to Russian policy, a deterrence reaction."
He added that the aim was to ensure any aggression against Poland would mean "real trouble for the aggressor.”
Poland has announced it aims to buy 32 cutting-edge F-35 fighter jets from the United States as part of the country’s multibillion military upgrade programme.
In February, Poland's government signed a deal to buy 20 HIMARS artillery rocket systems from America for USD 414 million as part of a military modernisation drive.
Poland in March last year signed what officials described as a historic deal to buy an American Patriot air defence system for USD 4.75 billion.
Meanwhile, Polish President Andrzej Duda in October 2017 signed into law plans to steadily increase the country’s defence spending to 2.5 percent of GDP by 2030.
Speaking during an annual briefing with top defence policy makers this year, he suggested this level of spending could “be achieved as early as 2024.”