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Polish army receives more tanks, howitzers from South Korea: defence minister

22.03.2023 20:00
Poland has received five more K2 tanks and 12 more K9 gun howitzers from South Korea to strengthen its defences amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Polish defence minister has said.
Polands Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak speaks to reporters in Warsaw on Wednesday, March 22, 2023.
Poland's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak speaks to reporters in Warsaw on Wednesday, March 22, 2023.PAP/Paweł Supernak

Mariusz Błaszczak announced the new shipment on Wednesday, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported. 

The defence minister told reporters: “A ship has arrived in the port of Gdynia today, delivering more K2 tanks and K9 gun howitzers from South Korea to  Poland.”

He added: “And so we are equipping our military units with hardware from South Korea. It’s the implementation of our agreements from last year.”

Błaszczak later said in a tweet: “The Polish Army keeps getting stronger. This morning 12 more K9 gun howitzers and five more K2 tanks, which we had ordered in South Korea last year, arrived in the port of Gdynia.”

He added: “It’s a significant boost to the potential of our artillery and armoured forces.”

'Polish armed forces keep getting stronger'

Both the K2 tanks and the K9 gun howitzers will go to Poland’s 16th Mechanised Division, which is based in the northeastern Warmińsko-Mazurskie region, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

Błaszczak, who is also a deputy prime minister, stated: “Both the gun howitzers and tanks have been delivered to the eastern part of our country, to the units that are responsible for the security of our country in the east, to Warmińsko-Mazurskie province, which borders Russia.”  

The defence minister said that "the deployment of the new weapons in eastern Poland is no coincidence.” 

He declared: “We seek to create a strength that will deter the aggressor. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin should think twice before ever making a decision to invade Poland because the Polish armed forces keep getting stronger and they are being equipped with modern hardware.”

Błaszczak said this was “a practical implementation of NATO’s doctrine of deterrence and defence.”

He added that US troops were now being stationed in Poland “on a permanent basis,” following the launch of the first US Army garrison on NATO’s eastern flank, in the western Polish city of Poznań.

South Korean weapons for Poland

Poland in July signed a framework agreement to buy 672 tracked gun howitzers, K9A1, and its version intended specifically for Poland, K9PL, along with support vehicles, ammunition and technical assistance, from South Korean arms maker Hanwha Aerospace, the PAP news agency reported. 

Poland also signed a framework deal to buy 1,000 K2 tanks from South Korean defence contractor Hyundai Rotem, officials said. 

In August, Poland signed a USD 2.4 billion executive contract for the purchase of 212 K9 gun howitzers, slated for delivery between 2022 and 2026, according to PAP. 

Meanwhile, Poland also signed a USD 5.8 billion executive contract to buy 180 K2 tanks, officials said.

The remaining 820 vehicles specified in the framework agreement will be manufactured in Poland on South Korean licence, the PAP news agency reported.

The first shipment of 10 K2 tanks and 24 K9 gun howitzers arrived in Poland in December, and was officially received by President Andrzej Duda and the defence minister, according to news reports at the time.

Poland’s defence ministry said it had chosen South Korean equipment due to “short delivery times, reliability and good maintenance,” as it seeks to replenish its stocks for weapons sent to Ukraine.

Wednesday is day 392 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, dziennik.pl