Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that his forces would be met by 40 million Poles standing with “gun in hand to defend their motherland” if Russia was ever to invade the nation.
Speaking from the opening of an air-gun shooting range in Silesia, Morawiecki announced plans to fund “a shooting range in every municipality,” of which there are 2,477 across the nation.
“We must know that this time of peace, a long period, is over, maybe for many years,” the Polish prime minister said. “It has happened due to Russia’s barbaric, unprovoked attack on Ukraine,” he added.
“If Russia ever had the idea of attacking Poland, Russia must know, the Kremlin must know, that in Poland, there are 40 million Poles ready to stand with gun in hand to defend their motherland,” Morawiecki claimed.
“We reject their colonialism, their imperialism. We are in a free country, and we will strive, fight for our freedom,” the Polish leader said as he stressed the nation will not return to former years “under the boot of Russian captivity.”
According to Morawiecki, Polish lawmakers will be legislating for greater regulated access to firearms for all Polish citizens in the near future, insisting that more shooting ranges across the country are necessary and that the government will ensure Polish residents are “stronger and better trained in the use of arms.”
“We must be sufficiently armed to deter an enemy,” Morawiecki added.
Following the Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Poland announced its intention to drastically increase its defense budget, with Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski telling the lower house of parliament in March that the government will spend 3 percent of GDP on defense in 2023.
The country’s Minister of Defense Mariusz Błaszczak also announced plans to purchase three additional Kormoran II class destroyers as the nation continues its program of upgrading and developing its military.
Unlike Ukraine, as a NATO member, Poland is protected by the organization’s collective defense, the cornerstone of the alliance that treats an attack on any NATO member as an attack on all.
Just last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin assured Poland that NATO would come to its aid if Russia ever decided to attack the nation.