Mariusz Błaszczak’s remarks came during a training exercise for Polish tank troops in the western city of Poznań on Wednesday, state news agency PAP reported.
The drills marked the launch of a training programme, dubbed Abrams Academy, designed to train Polish soldiers in operating the US-made tanks, officials said.
The Abrams Academy will have a total of 28 machines at its disposal, reporters were told.
Błaszczak, who is also a deputy prime minister, said of the training course: “Our aim is to have soldiers who are trained in operating the Abrams tanks when these machines are supplied to the Polish Army.”
‘The most advanced tanks in the world’
Błaszczak added: “Our task is to strengthen Poland’s defences. And that is precisely why we are equipping the Polish Army with the most advanced tanks, because the Abrams are indeed the most advanced tanks in the world.”
He told reporters that “Poland’s armed forces must deter potential aggressors” amid Russia’s assault on Ukraine.
He cautioned that "the Kremlin has decided to revive the Russian empire,” adding: “We are convinced … that the free world will emerge victorious from this confrontation.”
“To achieve this, we are increasing our defence spending, working together with the United States and building up Poland’s defensive capabilities,” Błaszczak also said.
Poland buys Abrams tanks
In April, Poland signed a USD 4.74 billion deal to buy 250 Abrams tanks from the United States in what officials hailed as a key step in boosting the country’s defences amid Russia's war against Ukraine.
Deliveries are slated for 2025 and 2026, the government said.
In July, the government in Warsaw reached an agreement with Washington to buy 116 used M1A2 Abrams tanks to replace equipment provided to war-torn Ukraine.
In this case, deliveries are set to start early next year, according to officials.
'Our aim is to make Polish land forces the strongest in Europe'
In late July, Błaszczak declared: “We are seeking to replace Poland’s whole armoured fleet. Our aim is to make Polish land forces the strongest in Europe, the strongest among NATO members, of course; and we will do that.”
Poland has in recent weeks approved a contract for the purchase of South Korean fighter jets, tanks and howitzers, and announced the start of deliveries of the C130H Hercules military transport aircraft, as well as the purchase of grenade launchers, turret systems, tank destroyers and military helicopters, among other equipment.
Wednesday was day 168 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: PAP, defence24.pl
Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Michał Owczarek.