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Poland bent on arms expansion to fend off Russia

Posted August. 26, 2022 08:00,   

Updated August. 26, 2022 08:00


“Our military must get stronger. I will join the army next year,” said a Polish college student named Piotr, who was chanting military songs and waving the Polish national flag at a choir competition hosted by the Polish defense ministry at Pilsudski Square of Warsaw.

Thousands of citizens including those in their 20s and 30s gathered for the event. Poland, which will sign the first formal contract on Friday to buy the K2 Black Panther tanks and K9 self-propelled howitzers from South Korea, is witnessing droves of young people volunteering to join the military. Adjoining Ukraine, Poland has become NATO’s frontline of the fight against Russia’s invasions, and anxiety is being stoked in Poland that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ambition of conquest might reach the country.

“Those who used be against war say now is the time to defend their country and are hurrying to join the army,” the young Polish men this journalist met said in unison. In fact, the Polish government is gearing up arms expansion in earnest, announcing its plan to double its forces in five years.

The third biggest provider of weapons for Ukraine following America and Britain, Poland is buying a hefty number of Korean weapons to fill the vacuum. In a press interview on Wednesday, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said the first formal contract will be signed on Friday to deliver 180 K2 Black Panther tanks, 212 K9 self-propelled howitzers within this year.

Eun-A Cho achim@donga.com