Polish army offers to train more civilians
The Polish army wants to train up to 8,000 civilians in basic military and survival skills this winter, amid Russia’s war on Ukraine, more than it originally planned, officials have said.
Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak meets reporters in Warsaw on Monday, December 19, 2022.PAP/Marcin Obara
The Train with the Army programme was unveiled by Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak on Monday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
Błaszczak, who is also a deputy prime minister, told a news conference that the first round of the programme in October and November „attracted a lot of interest, and so the maximum number of participants has been doubled.”
He added: “We are prepared to train more than 8,000 people at 31 garrisons across the country.”
The defence minister said that the free-of-charge, eight-hour training programme would be held every Saturday from mid-January to the end of February.
Military instructors will train participants „in the basics of handling guns and using a gas mask,” as well as in the fundamentals of survival, administering medical first aid and close-quarters combat, reporters were told.
Błaszczak said: “Our aim is to train as many people as possible in basic skills.”
The programme is targeted at citizens aged between 15 and 65. They can enroll through social media and the websites of the defence ministry and individual military units, according to officials.
“We encourage everyone to undergo basic training alongside Polish Army soldiers,” Błaszczak said at Monday’s news conference.
He added: “Through this training programme, we would also like to encourage everyone who hasn’t yet decided what they’ll be doing in the future, to join the Polish army.”
He told reporters that ever since his conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party came to power in 2015, “the Polish army has been consistently strengthened and equipped with modern weapons.”
Błaszczak also said that long before Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February, Poland’s ruling conservatives “warned about Russia’s attempts to revive its empire.”