Mariusz Błaszczak made the statement after a meeting of EU defence ministers in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
The defence minister, who also serves as a Polish deputy prime minister, told the media afterwards that the get-together focused on the launch of the EU’s upcoming military assistance mission to Ukraine (EUMAM Ukraine), joint EU-wide purchases of military equipment and the situation in Ukraine.
This last topic was discussed during a video call with Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov, Błaszczak said.
He added: “Everyone agreed that Ukraine must be supported.”
EU military mission for Ukraine
Błaszczak told reporters that the bulk of training under the EUMAM Ukraine project would be held at a training ground in the Western Polish village of Wędrzyn.
He also noted that a Polish military officer, Gen. Piotr Trytek, has been appointed the operational commander of EUMAM Ukraine.
The Polish defence minister told reporters that the EU-provided training would be “tailored to the needs of Ukrainian soldiers,” which “include demining and military tactics,” and “accommodation will be financed from the EU budget.”
Ukrainian troops began to be trained in Poland even before the Russian invasion of February 24, Błaszczak also said.
Joint purchases of military equipment
Błaszczak told the media that all EU member states supported Ukraine and faced an urgent need to replenish their military inventories following arms deliveries to Kyiv.
On Monday, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the bloc and its member states had provided arms and military equipment worth at least EUR 8 billion to Ukraine so far, the Reuters news agency reported.
Błaszczak said that EU countries should work together on arms buying and that joint purchases "should not be made only in Europe, and not only with the biggest arms makers of Western Europe.”
He noted that Poland had recently bought weapons from the United States and South Korea.
“I told my colleagues that this plan [for joint EU purchases] should not be limited to supporting big companies from Western Europe, but should also apply to smaller firms from Central and Eastern Europe,” Błaszczak said.
Meanwhile, Borrell on Tuesday stated that “European Union countries should work together in replenishing their military inventories and avoid competing with each other amid ongoing arms deliveries to Ukraine,” as cited by Reuters.
The EU’s 27 member states are set to boost military budgets by up to EUR 70 billion (USD 72.2 billion) in total by 2025, “but a lack of project cooperation and the purchases outside the bloc risk undermining efforts to create coherent forces,” the European Defence Agency (EDA) said in its annual review for ministers, according to Reuters.
'Yet again Russia is seeking to create a crisis'
Błaszczak added: “The third session concerned the situation in Ukraine. As we talked with Minister Reznikov, Ukraine was under another bombardment.”
He added that EU defence ministers discussed ways to prevent Russia from sparking a wave of migration through its attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.
Błaszczak said: “Yet again Russia is seeking to create a crisis. It wants to intimidate the people of Kyiv and other cities, it seeks to secure a ceasefire to gain time to rebuild its forces and strike again.”
He added that Baltic defence ministers shared this view, the PAP news agency reported.
Tuesday was day 265 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters, consilium.europa.eu