Aid to Kiev has depleted Warsaw’s military stockpiles, creating “gaps” that major partners should help fill, President Duda says
Poland’s weapons cupboard has been left too bare by military aid to Ukraine, and the country needs Western allies to replace the firepower that was shipped to Kiev, Polish President Andrzej Duda told his army commanders on Monday.
“We expect the gaps that have arisen in our resources to be refilled also within the framework of allied support mechanisms,”Duda spoke in military briefings. Poland has been Ukraine’s top supplier of heavy weapons, including hundreds of tanks, artillery pieces and other gear, he added.
It also contained hundreds of thousands more rounds of ammunition as well as anti-aircraft and drone launchers. Duda said Warsaw moved quickly to fill neighboring Ukraine’s needs on the battlefield, providing about $1.7 billion in military aid alone, after Russia launched its military offensive in February. He added that such weapons can be difficult to replace over time.
“Hence, we are now applying to virtually all our allies, especially our major ones, to send us equipment, which does not necessarily need to be new,”Duda stated. “On the contrary, we donated used equipment, so we are also able to accept used equipment as long as it at least partially replenishes what we have lost in a way that we consider justified and obvious.”
Poland is a prominent proponent of sanctions against Russia and providing Ukraine with advanced weapons to stop the incursion. Radoslaw Skorski, who is a Member of the European Parliament but was formerly Polish Foreign Minister, suggested that Kiev might be given nuclear weapons to help defend itself.
However, Warsaw’s staunchly pro-Ukraine policies have come at a cost. Poland, which has accepted more than 3 million Ukrainian refugee families, has criticised the EU for not providing reimbursement for these huge costs. After the Russian billionaire’s ties, a Swiss engineering firm was forced by the Polish government to close down its operation in Poland earlier this month. This led to 160 Poles losing their jobs.
Apparently, not all of Poland’s donated weapons have made it to the battlefield in Ukraine. Russia’s defense ministry said earlier this month that airstrikes had destroyed T-72 tanks and other armored vehicles that were supplied to Ukraine by Eastern European countries. They were hidden at Kiev’s railcar repair facility.
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