Published On: Tue, Mar 12th, 2024

Poland on war footing as NATO urged to boost defence spending to match Putin’s war machine | World | News

The Polish president Andrzej Duda has issued an urgent call for NATO members to increase their defence spending to three per cent of their GDP, saying the defensive alliance must do more to match Russia’s war machine.

Following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia has been spending around eight percent of its GDP on defence.

The NATO minimum is two percent but several leading members of the alliance have been spending less than that figure.

According to Statista, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada and Spain all spent less than two percent of their real GDPs in 2023.

In fact, of the 30 Nato member states, only 11 spent or exceeded the two percent minimum.

Poland, which spent 3.9 percent of its GDP on defence – more than the United States or any other NATO member – has called on members of the alliance to hike their defence spending to at least 3 percent, amid the continued war in Ukraine.

Poland joined NATO in 1999, alongside the Czech Republic and Hungary. The Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and President Duda are both visiting the United States, on the anniversary of their country’s ascension into the alliance.

Duda said on Monday evening in an address to the nation, prior to the visit to Washington: “Poland is proud to have been a part of it for 25 years. There has been and there is no better guarantor of security than the North Atlantic Alliance.”

He went on to say, as the war in Ukraine enters its third year, NATO members must take “greater responsibility for the security of the entire alliance and intensively modernise and strengthen their troops”.

“In the face of the war in Ukraine and Russia’s growing imperial aspirations, the countries making up NATO must act boldly and uncompromisingly”, he went on.

On Monday, NATO got a 32nd member, when Sweden’s flag was raised at the alliance’s Brussels headquarters.

Duda said of the move: “Today, NATO is sending a clear and strong signal by welcoming Finland and Sweden into its ranks. This is a historic event. Countries that have so far maintained a neutral status for years are joining the alliance. NATO is therefore significantly strengthened. However, further bold decisions are needed.”

Noting Poland and the United States’ hefty defence spending, he said the two states are in a position to “lead by example and provide an inspiration for others”.

Writing in the Washington Post, he said: “The Russian Federation has switched its economy to war mode. It is allocating close to 30% of its annual budget to arm itself”.

“This figure and other data coming out of Russia are alarming. Vladimir Putin’s regime poses the biggest threat to global peace since the end of the Cold War.”

The Biden administration has suggested that the Polish leader’s suggestion for increased spending on defence may be overly ambitious in the short term.

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