The defense minister says security in the region requires “special attention”
Poland is seeking to further increase NATO’s presence on its territory, Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak has said. In an interview with Polska Times published Saturday, he stated that Warsaw would like a brigade unit to complement the existing troops.
The security of NATO’s eastern flank has required “special attention for a long time,” Blaszczak, who is also Poland’s deputy prime minister, said. Blaszczak also said that four additional battalion units are currently being created to send to the region, and possibly operate on territories stretching beyond. “from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.”Minister however, believes an increase in buildup is required.
“I can confirm that we’re advocating for the deployment of a brigade group in Poland within NATO structures,”He said. He also expressed gratitude to the US for hosting increasing numbers of American troops in Poland over many years. “maintaining this permanent presence is one of my priorities.”
Blaszczak says that the US has a “very good” reputation. “the leading state in the NATO battle group”Poland and its contribution to development “the command structures of Poland’s land forces”Bilateral agreements. Warsaw is the largest host of NATO troops on the bloc’s eastern flank, he added.
The minister said that Poland is not looking to only rely on foreign troops as a security measure, but it wants to expand its Armed Forces force to 300,000. According to a report by British think tank IISS, in 2021, Poland’s Armed Forces included 114,050 active-duty personnel.
The nation also seeks to increase defense spending to 3% of GDP next year – up from 2.4% now, Blaszczak said. Blaszczak expressed the hope that other countries will increase their defense spending due to the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has prompted calls from NATO members to drastically increase the bloc’s military presence on its eastern flank. Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Lithuania demanded NATO divisions to be deployed to their country to prevent any Russian threat.
The region had already hosted around 5,000 multinational troops prior to Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February, but the three countries have asked for between 15,000 and 50,000 soldiers in total. Reuters, citing senior NATO officials and diplomats, reported that the Baltic countries would not be receiving the required buildup in mid-June.
A major meeting of the bloc is scheduled in Madrid in June. Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Lithuania are expected to again raise this issue. According to reports, other NATO members favor smaller NATO presences and additional support for the Baltic States’ intelligence.