The Polish government has announced its plans to double the size of its army in response to the deployment of Wagner troops in neighboring Belarus. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak revealed on Friday that the army would be expanded from three to six divisions. This decision was supported by Deputy Prime Minister Yaroslav Kaczynski.
Blaszczak stated that he had already signed a document increasing the number of active service members in the Polish Army from 172,000 to 300,000. He emphasized that the government was actively working towards implementing this goal. The defense minister also mentioned that Warsaw intended to increase its defense spending to 4% of GDP.
In addition to doubling the size of the army, Kaczynski highlighted the possibility of creating a reserve division. He mentioned that the government was also working on restoring military units that were disbanded under former Polish president Donald Tusk’s administration.
Kaczynski further revealed that Warsaw was taking measures to strengthen the country’s border with Belarus. This included the construction of a fence and the deployment of various electronic devices to enhance border protection. He claimed that these measures were necessary to prevent a potential attack that Minsk, with the support of Moscow, was preparing.
The decision to strengthen Poland’s army comes as a response to the presence of the Wagner PMC in Belarus. The group arrived as part of a deal between the Kremlin and Minsk, effectively ending a mutiny staged by Wagner leader Evgeny Prigozhin in late June. Since their arrival, the Wagner members have been providing training to Belarusian forces and sharing their experience from the conflict in Ukraine.
The presence of the Wagner PMC has raised concerns in Warsaw, with the Polish government expecting provocations from Russia. They have been closely monitoring the activities of the group. In addition, the US has officially stated that it would play a role in the defense of Polish territory in the event of an attack from abroad.
The tension escalated after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko informed Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Wagner fighters were interested in going on a tour to Warsaw to settle their perceived grievances with those believed to be supplying Ukrainian troops with military hardware.
To address these concerns and bolster its defense capabilities, Poland has decided to double its army’s size and strengthen its border security. These measures aim to protect the country from potential threats and ensure its national security.