Mariusz Błaszczak made the announcement in an media interview published on Saturday night, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
The defence minister was asked by the Gazeta Olsztyńska newspaper about the importance of the northeastern Warmińsko-Mazurskie province, which borders the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, for Poland’s defence capability.
He replied: “We are strengthening the Polish army across the country, but especially in the east.”
Błaszczak added: “We are also taking steps to particularly boost the forces stationed in the Warmińsko-Mazurskie region, as well.”
The defence minister stated: “We are expanding the 16th Mechanised Division, which is headquartered in Olsztyn.”
He added that as part of these efforts, a new unit would be created in the town of Olecko, with South Korean K9 gun howitzers, Polish Krab gun howitzers, and other artillery systems at its disposal.
‘First batch of HIMARS launchers to arrive in Orzysz this year’: defence minister
Błaszczak, who is also Poland’s deputy prime minister, declared: “Already this year, the brigade stationed in the town of Orzysz will receive the HIMARS launchers, that is, the artillery rocket systems capable of hitting targets up to 300 kilometres away.”
The defence minister stressed that the US-made HIMARS systems “are performing very effectively in the hands of Ukrainians, who are defending their homeland” against the Russian assault.
According to earlier announcements, Poland will receive a battalion of the HIMARS launchers this year, from the batch ordered in 2019, the PAP news agency reported.
In February 2019, 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.
Last month, Błaszczak announced that the US Congress had cleared the sale of nearly 500 HIMARS artillery rocket systems to Poland, adding that "the contract will be finalized soon."
Poland plans to increase its defence spending to 4 percent of GDP this year, officials have said, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Sunday is day 389 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Source: PAP, polskieradio.pl, gazetaolsztynska.pl