Tomasz Siemoniak, Poland’s defense minister, disclosed that the country is embarking on a massive rearmament program to better equip the Polish military amid fears of a Russian attack and invasion. He added the government is also working with volunteer militias to supplement their preparations.
Siemoniak told Sky News Poland “has to be ready” versus Russia. “We can see that Russia is going in the direction of restoring the influence it had at the time of the Soviet Union.”
He noted what happened with Crimea could just be the start of things to come. He thinks Russia will move on to the territories of other countries, and that Russia will use “aggression or by some other measures” to overtake them.
Over 6,100 people have been killed in the crisis between Russia-backed rebels in east Ukraine and Kiev’s forces. “So we have to be ready.”
Sky News says Poland increased its defense spending by 18 percent to meet NATO’s target requirement of 2 percent of GDP.
The rearmament program Poland has started meant to modernize its aging Soviet-era equipment by 2022.
While pursuing both plans, the defense minister said they intend to solicit the support of civilian paramilitary groups who will act as the country’s first line of defense should the war with Russia happen. A report by The Economist earlier this year says the groups “would act as light infantry units, waging guerilla war against invaders.”
Interest in the volunteer territorial defence organizations have increased since the Ukraine conflict started. Kuba, a 26-year-old paramedic member of the Strzelec, or riflemen, one of Poland’s oldest paramilitary groups, said all volunteers are trained to shoot using AK-47 and Glock pistol.
“We will teach everybody how to shoot, how to rescue people, how to camouflage, how to use radios, basic knowledge in the field. I think everybody who has a clear mind in Europe knows the war is a true possibility, especially in Poland.”