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Poland plans to bolster military amid security challenges

October 26, 2021

The Polish military has announced plans to more than double its troop numbers, as the country faces security and migration challenges on its eastern border.

Polish Army Soldiers guard a fence at the Belarusian border
Poland's defense proposal could see troop numbers more than double the current number of 110,000Image: Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto/picture alliance

The Polish government revealed a homeland defense bill on Tuesday, which could see a massive boost to the country's military.

The leader of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is also deputy prime minister, said the bill comes as a response to current global trends and Poland's political geography.

Speaking at a news conference in Warsaw, Kaczynski cited "Russia's imperial ambitions" and the migrant challenge on its eastern border with Belarus as top security challenges.

"If we want to avoid the worst, that is war, we have to act according to the old rule: 'If you want peace, prepare for war,'"Kaczynski said. 

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What does the defense plan entail?

Both Kaczynski and Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak jointly presented the defense proposal.

Troop numbers would more than double from the current number of 110,000 to 250,000 soldiers, along with 50,000 reserve troops.

Kaczynski said the plan entails purchasing military equipment produced in the US and elsewhere in the EU. 

The boost in troop numbers would not require a return to compulsory national service, the officials said. 

Blaszczak said that an Armed Forces Support Fund would be started to support the plan, with funding coming by way of government secured-bonds.

While no exact figures were given, officials said funding would work out to be significantly more than the 2% of gross domestic product, which is the benchmark for defense spending by NATO member states.

The proposed bill stills need to be signed off by parliament and the country's president.

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kb/wmr (AP,dpa,Reuters)