We must prepare Poland for a long, full-scale conflict, Polish Chief of the General Staff says

Public Domain Author: Zmechowiec 75

Poland is currently in a critical situation, facing the potential of a long-lasting, full-scale conflict. This was emphasised by Gen. Wiesław Kukuła, the head of the General Staff of the Polish Army, as he presented the East Shield plan at a parliamentary defence committee session. The ongoing border crisis with Belarus, orchestrated by Moscow and Minsk, has led to the illegal entry of refugees into Polish territory. Both Russia and Belarus have issued threats in response to Poland’s support for Ukraine and its democratic opposition to Alexander Lukashenko‘s regime. The situation is further exacerbated by joint military exercises by China and Belarus near NATO member Poland’s border.

The urgency of the East Shield project is to limit the potential mobility of the enemy’s troops. On Wednesday, the Sejm National Defence Committee, at the request of PiS MPs, heard information on the strengthening of Poland’s eastern border, including the East Shield project, from representatives of the Ministry of National Defence, the Polish Army, and the Ministry of the Interior and Administration.

” Our constitutional tasks, but also the forecast of our threats, are such that we must be prepared for a full-scale conflict of a symmetrical nature and of long duration, and this is related to the fact that we must maintain the armed forces in good condition,” underlined General Kukuła.

The Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Army aims to have the East Shield infrastructure operational by 2028. This includes allocating 17,000 soldiers to protect the eastern border, with 8,000 serving directly on the border and 9,000 in reserve. Operation Safe Podlasie will begin on August 1 to support the Border Guard and respond to aggressive military behaviours from Belarus and Russia. General Kukuła outlined four primary “lines of effort in Operation East Shield”, including strengthening anti-surprise capabilities, limiting the potential mobility of enemy troops, ensuring troop mobility and security, and protecting the civilian population.

PiS MP Andrzej Śliwka stated that the funding for the East Shield project is uncertain. Despite previous assurances of EU funding, it is now known that the funds might not be allocated due to opposition from Germany. Deputy Minister of National Defence Cezary Tomczyk mentioned that the project’s financing will come from the state budget and EU funds. He clarified that the allocated funds will be used to start the investments, and the European Investment Bank is expected to co-finance the project by the end of 2024. Prime Minister Donald Tusk has also signed an agreement with the EIB for optoelectronic imaging and Polish satellites.

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