Mariusz Błaszczak made the statement in the southwestern city of Legnica on Sunday, Polish state news agency reported.
The defence minister took part in a ceremony to mark 84 years since the Soviet Union invaded Poland in the opening phase of World War II.
Also in attendance was the Speaker of the Sejm (lower house of parliament) Elżbieta Witek.
Błaszczak said that both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union had invaded Poland to subjugate the country and “to ensure that Poland does not recover.”
He added: “But Poland has recovered. Today Poland is an independent country that prides itself on its history and all the past experiences constitute our national identity.”
The defence minister stated: “Today we can enjoy the fact that Poland is free and we are doing everything to ensure that Poland remains free.”
Błaszczak then referred to Russia’s ongoing aggression against Poland’s eastern neighbour Ukraine.
He told the audience: “Russia is seeking to revive its empire using the same methods as in 1939. The people of Ukraine’s Irpin and Bucha experienced this as they were killed by Russian soldiers.”
The defence minister stated: “To ensure that the events of 84 years ago are not repeated, to ensure that Poland is not exposed to the attempts to revive the Russian empire, we are developing the Polish army.”
He added: “We are making the Polish army powerful enough to deter the aggressor from attacking Poland.”
Błaszczak said the government was achieving this through “equipping the Polish army with modern weapons and increasing the number of troops.”
The defence minister paid tribute “to everyone who was killed, who fell in the name of love for our homeland” as a result of the September 17, 1939 Soviet invasion, the PAP news agency reported.
Sunday is day 571 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.
Source: IAR, PAP