Facing Russian Threat: Poland to Boost Defense Budget Over Next 15 Years

Written by | Friday, August 25th, 2017

Poland is going to boost its defense budget by €46.6 billion over the next 15 years in response to the growing aggression from Russia. The money will be used to revamp its armed forces. “The government has approved a legislative amendment … which gives us nearly 200 billion zlotys over the next 15 years,” Deputy Defense Minister Tomasz Szatkowski said, adding that this initiative was in line with plans to raise defense spending to reach 2.5% of the country’s gross domestic product. Warsaw agreed before the summer to raise defense spending gradually from 2% to 2.5% of GDP by 2032.
Tomasz Szatkowski is the main strategist behind Poland’s new concept of defense, which presupposes an increase in the size of the army almost twofold and a modernization of its equipment. Almost two thirds of the equipment dates back from the Soviet times but despite the increase in spending, “hard choices” will have to be made, Mr. Szatkowski said. For example, the country will no longer be able to afford a transport fleet and more money on artillery, while engineering or assault helicopters will come at the cost of boosting the airborne forces.
Meanwhile, Moscow is going to launch its largest military exercises in years next month in Belarus and western Russia, which has raised concerns for the Kremlin’s lack of transparency. NATO worries that the number of troops that Russia has provided might be understated. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is currently visiting Poland (24-25 August) to supervise the deployment of US troops in the east of the country. Warsaw has lobbied for the stationing of NATO troops on its territory with great intensity since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

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