Poland increases military spending in response to Russia’s belligerence

Poland has responded to Russia’s belligerence by raising its defence budget by 18 per cent, achieving the biggest increase in military spending of any country in Europe.

Haunted by memories of Soviet invasion, Poland is set to join the handful of Nato members who meet the alliance’s target of investing at least two per cent of national income in defence.

At present, this club consists only of America, Britain, Estonia and Greece. On present plans, Britain is likely to drop out of this group next year – exactly when Poland is due to join.

Party divisions were swept aside when the Polish parliament decided to meet Nato’s two per cent target from 2016 onwards, with 402 MPs voting in favour and only two against.

“This is one of the most important days of my term,” said Tomasz Siemoniak, Poland’s defence minister, after the vote. “This is a very good and important decision given the current security situation.”

Poland’s defence budget jumped from £5.6 billion last year to £6.6 billion in 2015, an 18 per cent increase that is almost unprecedented in Europe since the Cold War.

Poland views itself as being on the “front line against Russia”, said Marek Matraszek, a defence consultant.

Thanks to its 130-mile border with the enclave of Kaliningrad, Poland is a direct neighbour of Russia. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Crimea has been annexed by the Kremlin and a third, Lithuania, feels directly threatened.

Full article: Poland increases military spending in response to Russia’s belligerence (The Telegraph)

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