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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland to expand armed forces under new defence bill

26.10.2021 20:15
Poland aims to modernise and expand its armed forces into one of the strongest in NATO, under a new homeland defence bill unveiled by officials on Tuesday.
Audio
Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński (R) and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak (L) on Tuesday unveiled a new homeland defence bill that aims to make Poland one of the strongest members of NATO.
Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński (R) and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak (L) on Tuesday unveiled a new homeland defence bill that aims to make Poland one of the strongest members of NATO.PAP/Wojciech Olkuśnik

Outlining the bill to reporters, Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński said that “a country located at the external border of the European Union must have a major deterrence capability and be able to defend itself on its own for a long time.”

He added that this was because NATO’s collective power could take a while to be mobilised in support of a member state in the event of an armed conflict.

Kaczyński, who heads Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, told reporters that the international situation, including "Russia's imperial ambitions" and a "hybrid war" being waged on Poland's border with Belarus, called for new legislation to boost the country's defences.

The new rules would replace regulations dating as far back as 1967, he said.

'If you want peace, prepare for war'

“We must act according to the ancient adage: if you want peace, prepare for war," Kaczyński told reporters.

“Or, to avoid the word 'war,' if you want peace, build up your armed forces,” he added.

“We want Poland to be among NATO’s strongest members in terms of military might,” he declared, as quoted by state news agency PAP.

He pledged that the army’s numbers, its firepower and ability to project its strength would all see “a manifold increase” in "a relatively short time" under the new homeland defence bill.

Kaczyński also said that new military hardware could be bought from the United States as well as European allies. 

He argued that Poland needed to have "an army that is as large and as well equipped as possible.”

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak told reporters that the proposed legislation would open up new sources of funding for the military, help increase its numbers, including through new incentives to join, and set up new units, but without reinstating conscription.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP, TVP Info

Click on the "Play" button above for an audio report by Radio Poland’s Michał Owczarek.