On Saturday, the head of the Polish Defence Ministry Mariusz Błaszczak inaugurated the start of a basic, one-year, voluntary military service programme, which the government introduced in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
At a ceremony in Kraśnik, eastern Poland, Błaszczak said the new law on homeland defence was “an important event for the Polish armed forces.”
Poland suspended mandatory conscription in 2010 in order to professionalise its armed forces.
Our goal is to have 300,000 soldiers
“We all know perfectly well what’s happening behind our eastern border and we are aware of the threats,” the minister said. “These threats are real: Russia has attacked Ukraine and there is a war going on behind our border,” he added.
According to Mr Błaszczak, the best response to the threats is to strengthen the Polish military. “This is why we decided to start a campaign of voluntary basic military service,” he pointed out.
“Our goal is to increase the number of soldiers in the Polish armed forces to 300,000, including 250,000 professional soldiers,” the head of the Defence Ministry went on to say. “We also want as many people as possible to be trained and to have vast numbers of reservists who know how to behave in a crisis situation and who can handle weapons,” he stressed.
“During an event in Kraśnik, Minister Błaszczak handed out appointment cards to those who chose to serve in the Polish army as part of the voluntary basic military service,” the Defence Ministry wrote on Twitter.
Podczas pikniku w #Kraśnik minister @mblaszczak wręczył karty powołań osobom, które zdecydowały się na służbę w #WojskoPolskie w ramach dobrowolnej zasadniczej służby wojskowej. pic.twitter.com/rev2yu7M8E
— Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej ?? (@MON_GOV_PL) May 21, 2022
Polish armed forces
According to the government, Poland now has about 111,500 professional service people and 32,000 territorial defence soldiers.
Recruitment to the service was launched on Saturday, with military picnics organised in 32 Polish cities and towns. Moreover, 70 recruitment stations have been prepared throughout the country.
Those who want to join the military have three options now. They can become professional soldiers, decide to do basic military service or join the territorial defence force.