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Poland calls for increased NATO budget amid Russian aggression

Poland has told other NATO members that the bloc’s budget should be increased in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Mariusz Błaszczak, Poland’s defence minister, presented his country’s stance at a meeting with his NATO peers in Brussels on Thursday.

“It is important to realise that the North Atlantic Alliance’s budget is now lower than at the beginning of the 1990s, despite NATO having 30 members now compared to 16 at that time,” Błaszczak said at a press briefing after the meeting.

“Today there’s a war, and there was no war back then,” he added, referring to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

“With regard to this, Poland advocated for increasing the NATO budget in undertakings that we will finance together,” Błaszczak went on to say.

He also said Poland had already made important steps to boost its defence, including the passage of a new homeland defence law and bolstering its armed forces.

“The strengthening of the Polish Armed Forces is meant to deter the aggressor, meaning Russia,” Błaszczak said.

“We also discussed efforts, there is good news because other NATO member states are making efforts to increase their defence spending and their activity and thus deter the aggressor,” the minister continued.

Błaszczak revealed that other topics discussed at the two-day meeting that ended on Thursday included NATO’s support for Ukraine and Georgia, plus Sweden and Finland’s bid to join the bloc.

Poland has recently revealed a plan to increase the size of its armed forces from just over 110,000 professional soldiers and 32,000 territorial defence members to 300,000 troops, including 250,000 professional soldiers.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary general, said after the meeting that the ministers had discussed the strengthening of NATO battle groups on the bloc’s eastern flank, including increased air, naval and cyber defence.

NATO will hold a summit in Madrid in two weeks, where new decisions are expected to be made in response to the new geopolitical context that Moscow has imposed through its war in Ukraine.

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