Poland boosts military numbers, strengthens its position within NATO: deputy PM

Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz has announced a significant milestone in the country’s military capability, saying that the Polish armed forces now exceed 200,000 personnel.

Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz.

Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz.Photo: EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET

Speaking after a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, Kosiniak-Kamysz said on Friday that this increase is part of a broader initiative to enhance military readiness and recruitment, with 2024 expected to set a record in enlistment numbers.

The discussions in Brussels touched on NATO’s strategic enhancements in Europe, particularly the role of the Multinational Corps Northeast headquartered in Szczecin, northwestern Poland, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

In an effort to strengthen security in the Baltic Sea region, Poland, Germany and Sweden will share rotating command, a move Kosiniak-Kamysz has championed since his appointment as defense minister late last year.

Kosiniak-Kamysz revealed that NATO is set to take a larger role in protecting a logistics hub in Rzeszów, southeastern Poland, which serves as a critical point for delivering military support to Ukraine.

He also said that NATO aims to take on a greater role in coordinating efforts to support Ukraine, and that „Poland supports all proposals from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in this regard.”

Kosiniak-Kamysz also confirmed the ongoing presence of American Patriot missile systems in Poland, denying reports that these could be relocated to Ukraine. He dismissed such reports as „fake news which someone wishes to spread.”

In over a dozen bilateral talks, including a meeting with Italy’s Defense Minister Guido Crosetto, Kosiniak-Kamysz said he secured a continued commitment to the air policing mission over Polish airspace.

Additionally, he signed a letter of intent marking the 25th anniversary of the Partnership for Peace Consortium, an initiative that fosters military academic exchanges across 60 nations.

Addressing regional security, Kosiniak-Kamysz discussed the Polish-led „Shield East” initiative with his Baltic and Finnish counterparts, aiming to fortify defenses in response to Russia’s increasingly brazen bellicosity and ongoing tensions on the Poland-Belarus border.

He highlighted increasingly violent encounters with groups of „supposed migrants” attempting to force their way across the border, and emphasized the challenges faced by Polish border guards and law enforcement.

The UK has also expressed an interest in participating in the Shield East project, acknowledging Poland’s significant defense spending, which officials say stands at 4 percent of its GDP — the highest rate within NATO.

The Brussels meeting was the last such gathering before next month’s NATO summit in Washington.

(rt/gs)

Source: IAR, PAP

Radio Poland

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