During the Warsaw Security Forum in Warsaw, Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak assessed that the security landscape in Europe is clearly deteriorating as a result of Russia’s policy. He emphasized that it consists in constantly building military power and creating threats in foreign relations.
The head of the Ministry of National Defense, speaking on Tuesday at the opening of the Warsaw Security Forum, said that a good starting point for defining the state’s defense priorities is “an honest assessment of the existing threats.” – Today it is even more important, at a time when the security environment in Europe and other regions has become more volatile and less predictable than a few years ago. (…) We do not know exactly how the events will unfold, but it is precisely for this reason that we must be prepared for various scenarios, even those that are difficult and undesirable – said Błaszczak.
Błaszczak: the increase in Russia’s military strength causes more and more security challenges in Europe
According to him, “here in Europe, the security landscape is clearly deteriorating as a result of Russia’s policy, defined by the constant building of military power, direct or indirect threats used in foreign relations, as well as other forms of testing our resilience, which unfortunately become the new normal for the environment. Russia “.
– The increase in military strength (of Russia – ed.) In the Western military district, in the Baltic Sea region, but also in the Black Sea region, the Arctic, accompanied by an increasingly sophisticated set of hybrid techniques, causes increasing security challenges in Europe – he emphasized.
In this context, he referred to the Russian Zapad military exercises conducted close to NATO’s borders and which, he said, were “a visible demonstration of Russia’s military strength”. According to the minister, they showed “Russia’s complex set of war, military and other tools available to operate in various domains.” – These exercises emphasize, above all, the maintenance of the ability to control and escalate the conflict on the border – emphasized the head of the Ministry of National Defense.
According to him, the conclusions drawn from this “highlight, inter alia, the challenge of an early response from our alliance, which should be addressed in a more determined manner.”
“Coherence and unity remain the conditions for an effective strategic response”
The head of the Ministry of National Defense emphasized that the current situation on the Polish, Lithuanian and Latvian border with Belarus shows the possibility of “actions aimed at weakening our security”. – Combined with military activities such as large-scale military exercises or the relocation of defense systems close to NATO’s borders, it leads to a possible escalation and weakening of the security of NATO and the European Union – said the head of the Ministry of National Defense.
Therefore, as he said, the Euro-Atlantic policy must be solid and coherent. – Coherence and unity remain the conditions for an effective strategic response to these threats. Western solidarity and the principle of indivisibility of security are the starting point for effective deterrence and defense policies in the Euro-Atlantic area, emphasized Błaszczak.
– From the beginning of our membership in the North Atlantic Pact, NATO has been the main foundation of Polish security policy. This rule remains unchanged. However, not all security threats belong to the domain of NATO, said the minister. He assessed that NATO must be ready to take the actions that are the greatest challenges – he mentioned here: common defense, but added that the actions of “other actors”, such as the European Union, are also important.
In his opinion, the Union should play its role “with a clear division of tasks and clearly defined priorities”. According to the head of the Ministry of National Defense, the EU may undertake additional, but equally important tasks, such as support in combating hybrid activities or protection of energy supply chains.
The head of the Ministry of National Defense: today alliances must fulfill their obligations, develop resources and capabilities
– International structures bear a certain responsibility, but it rests primarily with the member states – he stressed. – Today, alliances must fulfill their obligations, develop resources and capabilities, make them available to member states and use them when necessary. (…) Poland undertakes to act in accordance with these principles. We are building capable defense forces that are ready to defend Poland and the region. And for this purpose, we provide a credible contribution to common defense – emphasized the head of the Ministry of National Defense.
He stressed that for this purpose Poland’s defense spending already exceeds 2 percent of GDP and – still in this decade – will be increased to 2.5 percent. GDP.
Błaszczak assured the government that the government was determined to continue long-term defense investments. He stressed that Poland was ready to make a contribution to NATO’s security, both individually and in the form of committed membership in international structures.
– We are building an air defense system based on Patriot batteries, as well as on domestic short-range and very short-range systems. These capabilities will provide better protection for our forces, critical infrastructure and the most densely populated areas, he said.
Minister on the purchase of American F-35 aircraft
In the context of the purchase of American F-35 aircraft, Błaszczak stated that it would take the capabilities of our air force “to a completely new level”. In addition, he added, “our navy, which has been underinvested for decades, will be significantly strengthened with new ships, including three modern frigates with air defense capabilities.”
– Thanks to these efforts, the numbers and capabilities of the Polish armed forces have been significantly increased. However, this in no way ends our defense plans and ambitions. The government is determined to pursue significant long-term defense investments by providing the necessary financial flows together with defense capability programs that will improve our deterrence and defense capacity, said the head of the Ministry of National Defense.
He stressed that Poland “is open to the implementation of this ambitious defense capability development plan as part of mutually beneficial cooperation with allies” and that this should be aimed at effective implementation of operational capabilities as well as long-term cooperation in defense technologies.
– Our enhanced defense efforts should also be seen as an additional contribution of Poland to a fairer distribution of burdens among all members of the Euro-Atlantic community – said Błaszczak. According to him, “the involvement of the United States must be linked to the willingness of European partners to do fairer these responsibilities and to strengthen their defense capabilities.”
“We must all see ourselves as security providers”
The head of the Ministry of National Defense also said that “in today’s complex security environment, no country is able to conduct its security policy effectively on its own,” and that “international stability and security can only be achieved through national and supranational efforts.”
– We must all see ourselves as security providers. The synergy of NATO and the European Union is crucial. The new actions of the Union should remain an important element of strengthening the security of Europeans in order to ensure the security of their continent, said the head of the Ministry of National Defense. He also stressed that this process “should not undermine the role of NATO and should not weaken transatlantic ties”.
Main photo source: PAP / Mateusz Marek