APRIL 20, 2022 | BY DAVID VERGUN, DOD NEWS
At the Pentagon today for a meeting with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said his country will increase its defense spending to 3% of gross domestic product.
Blaszczak said the increase will begin next year. He also noted that Poland signed an agreement to acquire 250 M1A2 Abrams tanks from the United States earlier this month.
The defense minister said he’s grateful for the U.S. engagement and commitment in solidifying allied posture against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, as well as strengthening NATO’s eastern flank, including deployment of additional troops to Poland.
“With great concern, we’re observing everyday Russian attacks in Ukraine. I trust that Russia will be held accountable for all its war crimes,” Blaszczak said.
Austin thanked Blaszczak for providing security assistance to the Ukrainian military and facilitating the delivery of security assistance from the United States and other NATO allies and partners from around the globe.
“Perhaps most importantly, the Polish people have opened their hearts and their homes to millions of Ukrainians fleeing the violence. And you’ve done it with grace,” Austin said.
Austin said he’s looking forward to discussing the ways in which the Defense Department can further strengthen its close, military-to-military alliance with Poland.
Austin mentioned that Poland has had a long history of fighting for its independence and helping others fight for theirs. He said it reminds him of the old Polish saying, “for our freedom and for yours.”
Austin added: “Mr. Minister, Poland has once again demonstrated that spirit.”