Monday, November 28, 2022

Poland to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons

by Illia PonomarenkoJanuary 31, 2022 8:52 pm
Polish soldiers practice taking aim with Grom anti-aircraft weapons on March 5, 2008 (Ministry of Defense of Poland)

The Polish government has approved providing Ukraine with humanitarian aid and weaponry amid the ongoing all-out war threat from Russia.

"A decision was made to transfer munitions of defensive, rather than of offensive, nature to the Ukrainian party," Pawel Soloch, the leader of Poland's National Security Bureau, said on Jan. 31.

"This decision is now being implemented by the minister of national defense."

Answering follow-up questions, the official confirmed that Warsaw intends to send air defense weapons to Ukraine, adding that several dozens of projectile could be transferred "within the next several days."

Poland has made an offer of several options of weapon supplies, among which Ukraine must select its choice, the officials said.

Judging from the announcement, it is highly likely that Poland decided to provide Ukraine with a number of its PZR Grom, the derivative from older Soviet-made man-portable anti-aircraft missile system 9K38 Igla, which has been widely used by the Polish military since the 1990s.

Apart from weapons, Warsaw is to provide Kyiv with humanitarian assistance, including means of rendering immediate medical aid to the civilian population, and also of evacuating it to safety zones.

The decision adds Poland to a club of nations providing Ukraine with weaponry as Russia continues holding over 120,000 troops near its borders seen as a threat of a full-scale military action. As recently as on Jan. 30, Denmark's government confirmed its readiness to initiate weapon supplies to Kyiv, while the Czech Republic confirmed its decision to send over 4,000 large-caliber artillery shells to Ukraine.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithia, in a joint statement on Jan. 21, also vowed to send dozens of FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank systems and FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft to increase Ukraine's chances to deter Russia's full-scale aggression.

In January alone, the United States has also delivered nearly 700 Javelin missiles and 200 M141 SMAW-D bunker busting weapons, while the United Kingdom transferred as many as nearly 2,000 NLAW anti-tank grenade launchers as part of their emergency assistance to Kyiv.

On Jan. 21, Polish President Andrzej Duda said Ukraine could "count on Polish support" in the wake of the Russian threat.

Illia Ponomarenko
Illia Ponomarenko
Defense reporter

Illia Ponomarenko is the defense and security reporter at the Kyiv Independent. He has reported about the war in eastern Ukraine since the conflict’s earliest days. He covers national security issues, as well as military technologies, production, and defense reforms in Ukraine. Besides, he gets deployed to the war zone of Donbas with Ukrainian combat formations. He has also had deployments to Palestine and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as an embedded reporter with UN peacekeeping forces. Illia won the Alfred Friendly Press Partners fellowship and was selected to work as USA Today's guest reporter at the U.S. Department of Defense.

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