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Poland is becoming ‘a military superpower’: Finnish daily

12.06.2023 13:40
Poland is developing into a military superpower and could also help bolster the security of Lithuania and other Baltic states, amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, according to Finland’s leading newspaper, “Helsingin Sanomat.”
Photo:PAP/Tomasz Waszczuk

In a recent conversation, Polish President Andrzej Duda and his Lithuanian counterpart Gitanas Nausėda discussed ways to strengthen military cooperation between the two countries, the Finnish daily wrote at the weekend, according to Polish state news agency PAP.

The two leaders touched upon the idea of deploying Polish forces to Lithuania, on a rotational or permanent basis, Helsingin Sanomat reported, as quoted by Poland’s wp.pl website.

Last week, Nausėda told private broadcaster TV3 that “Lithuania’s strategic aims include ‘more Poland in Lithuania,” according to the Finnish newspaper. 

It noted that plans for closer cooperation with the Baltic states come amid Poland’s “rise towards the position of a military superpower,” wp.pl reported.

Lithuania to host Polish soldiers?

According to Helsingin Sanomat, Lithuanian authorities have been “constantly lobbying for a bigger German military presence” in their country, as part of the German-led multinational NATO battlegroup stationed in Lithuania. 

These calls have “created tensions” between Vilnius and Berlin, and Nausėda has broached the idea of hosting Polish forces instead, on a rotational or permanent basis, the Finnish newspaper wrote, according to wp.pl.

“Replacing a weak Germany with a determined Poland has emerged as a realistic option for Vilnius,” Helsingin Sanomat reported, as quoted by wp.pl. 

Poland’s drive “to become a military superpower not just regionally, but on a European scale, has met with a positive response in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia,” the Finnish newspaper noted.

It added that “relations between Poland and the Baltic states have become even closer in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine” in February 2022, as quoted by wp.pl.

Helsingin Sanomat quoted a September 2022 article by Poland’s Ambassador to NATO Tomasz Szatkowski, for the Wszystko Co Najważniejsze website, entitled Poland has gone from being a recipient of security to its main guarantor in Central Europe.

The Finnish daily noted that Poland “seeks to increase its influence” in NATO’s command structures by boosting its presence abroad, among other measures, wp.pl reported.

‘Poland’s defence against Russia begins in Estonia’

“Poland’s strategic defence plans entail a bigger presence not just in Lithuania, but also in Estonia, where the defence against Russia begins,” Helsingin Sanomat wrote, as quoted by wp.pl.

The Finnish daily cited Tomas Jermalavičius, a Lithuanian expert with the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS), a think tank based in Tallinn, Estonia.

Jermalavičius said: “Polish authorities are crafting a defence strategy for their country, which not only borders the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, but also shares a long frontier with Belarus.”

According to the Lithuanian expert, Poland’s authorities are working on the assumption that “the defence of their country could begin in the Estonian city of Narva” on the Russian border, Helsingin Sanomat reported, as quoted by wp.pl.  

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Monday is day 474 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, wp.pl