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Poland is Building the Largest Ground Army in Europe Amidst Mounting Debt

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As tensions with Russia and Belarus escalate, Poland is rapidly bolstering its military capabilities, striving to develop the most formidable ground army in Europe. The country’s ambitious efforts, however, have not been without criticism, as Poland faces substantial financial strain due to its massive borrowing.

Amidst preparations for Army Day on August 15, Warsaw plans a grand military parade showcasing its might. The display will feature 200 pieces of equipment and 2,000 soldiers, including Abrams tanks, K2s, K9 self-propelled howitzers, HIMARS rocket launchers, Bayraktar combat drones, and Patriot air defense systems.

The Polish army has encountered setbacks, tarnishing its image, such as the discovery of a Russian Ch-55 missile wreckage months after it landed in Polish territory, and recent airspace violations by Belarusian combat helicopters near the Polish-Belarusian border.

Poland’s assertive approach stems from concerns about real threats, potential provocations, and Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The country’s military spending, the highest among NATO nations, is projected to reach 3.9% of its GDP this year. The escalating arms acquisitions have led Poland to seek financial support from South Korean export banks, but their lending capacity is nearing its limits, necessitating a change in the law to secure additional state funds.

Despite the impressive armaments, Poland faces criticism from both opposition and military figures. They raise concerns about the speed and urgency of purchases, pointing out the lack of transparency and unclear criteria for spending. Additionally, some argue that the equipment purchases will take years to materialize, leaving Poland heavily reliant on outdated Soviet-made equipment.

Ultimately, the outcome of this massive military buildup will depend on the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections. If the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party retains power, they vow to continue the ambitious plan to create the strongest ground army in Europe. On the other hand, if the opposition takes control, there may be a reevaluation of the current strategy and arms purchases.



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