View from Prague: “Poland is worried about Russia and builds the strongest land army in Europe – on debt”

10:16 13.08.2023 •

The usual picture now – troops on the roads of Poland.
Photo: ‘Seznam Zpravy’

Fears of Russia lead Poland to create the largest land army in the EU, writes ‘Seznam Zpravy’ from the Czech Republic. The country is arming feverishly, Warsaw takes loans from South Korea. But at the same time questions are mounting – whether Poland can afford it?

Abrams tanks, K2, K9 self-propelled howitzers, HIMARS rocket launchers, Krab self-propelled howitzers, Bayraktar combat drones and Patriot air defense systems – some of the 200 units of this military equipment will appear at the traditional military parade in Warsaw in mid-August, along with 2,000 soldiers. Thus, Poland will celebrate Army Day, which falls on August 15, under the slogan "Strong White and Red". 100 aircraft will take to the skies, including the new FA-50 light combat aircraft.

At the end of June, the first 14 American Abrams tanks were delivered. Others should arrive soon. The General Staff also reported on exercises with HIMARS rocket launchers, which arrived in Poland in May this year.

“The exhibition will feature Polish, Korean and American equipment, including the latest equipment purchased in recent years,” boasts the Polish General Staff. The show should present the Army in the best light. At the same time, the image of the Army and the Ministry of Defense suffered due to several incidents. Recall that in November last year, a stray rocket of Ukrainian air defense fell in the border village of Pshevodov, as a result of which two Poles were killed.

In addition to popularizing the Army, the parade in Warsaw also intends to represent the great Polish ambitions that have grown since the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party recently announced the creation of a missile brigade based in Torun and Orzysz close to the borders with Russia and Belarus.

Minister Błaszczak said that he wanted the Army up to 250,000 professional soldiers and 50,000 servicemen of the territorial defense forces. This June he stated that the Polish Army already had 172,500 "soldiers in service." “We are consistently building the strongest land army in Europe!” he added.

Poland military spending as a percentage of GDP is the highest among all NATO countries and exceeds the percentage allocated by the United States, NATO report revealed in July. The Alliance estimates that Poland will spend 3.9% of GDP on armaments this year, half a percentage point more than the United States.

‘Seznam Zpravy’ table

Poland is looking for military orders wherever possible, including Asia. Last year Warsaw ordered 1,000 K2 tanks, 600 K9 self-propelled howitzers, 48 FA-50 light combat aircraft and 280 Cheongmu rocket launchers from South Korea. To finance this giant arms deal, the Polish government borrowed up to PLN 36.8 billion (about $9 billion) from South Korean export banks.

The South Korean newspaper The Korea Times recently reported another Poland request for a new huge loan. Both governments do not officially comment the financial side of the matter. Polish purchases in South Korea are so large that local export banks have almost exhausted their legal capacity to finance arms exports.

At the same time, according to the The New York Times, South Korea's arms exports soared by 140 percent, mainly due to Polish orders, making Seoul one of the largest arms exporters in the world.

Whether Minister Blaszczak's plans could realize will become clear after the parliamentary elections this autumn. The Minister said: if PiS party re-forms the government after the October vote, it will continue to arm the country.

But if today's opposition will win, a revision of the current strategy, as well as a revision of the giant arms purchases, would be probably revised, notes Czech ‘Seznam Zpravy’.

Against the backdrop of the rapid armament of Poland, the Polish claims to take the territory of Western Ukraine, including the city of Lviv, which was Polish land before the Second World War, are very serious. The Polish publication ‘’ published a selection of Poles' opinions on this issue even seven years ago. These intentions have only become stronger now. An article titled «Po 1 stycznia 2016 r. Polacy mogą zacząć odzyskiwać kamienice we Lwowie!» («From January 1, 2016, the Poles can start restoring tenement houses in Lviv!»). Here are some judgments from readers:

Wołyń1943 — Czyżby wreszcie do Ukraińców zaczęło docierać, że zajmują Lwów prawem kaduka? Lepiej późno, niż wcale! (Is it finally beginning to dawn on Ukrainians that Lviv is being seized by law? Better late than never!)

Spartakus halszka — Rezultat bedzi dobry gdy oddadza nie tylko kamienice a takze posiadlosci rolne. Wlasciciele maja akty notarialn. (The result will be good when they give away not only tenement houses, but also agricultural land. The owners have notarial deeds).

Lew 24 — …Ukraina to sztuczne państwo budowane na historii banderowskich zbrodniarzy odpowiedzialnych za ludobójstwo Polaków. (…Ukraine is an artificial state built on the history of Bandera criminals responsible for the genocide of Poles).

Artnow — czyli Lwów pomalutku ale będzie Polski. Brawo. (That is, Lviv will be slowly, but Polish. Bravo).

SyøTroll — Świetna wiadomość dla spadkobierców byłych właścicieli kamienic. (Great news for the heirs of former apartment building owners).

Black flag — kamienice jak kamienice , a co z bylymi wojewodztwami , czy to nie polskie ? Polska tez czeka na Krolewiec , Wilno , Grodno etc (Tenement houses are like tenement houses, but what about the former voivodeships, isn't that Polish? Poland is also waiting for Krolevets, Vilnius, Grodno, etc.)

…It seems that Polish society is ready to take Western Ukraine under the control of Warsaw. By force, maybe…


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