Parliament passes bill on expanding Poland's armed forces

The bill was voted for by 450 lawmakers with five abstentions and none against. Leszek Szymański/PAP

The Sejm, lower house of parliament, on Friday, adopted a new Homeland Defence bill aimed at modernising and expanding Poland's armed forces in reaction to the Russia-Ukraine war.

The bill was voted for by 450 lawmakers with five abstentions and none against.

Under the bill, Poland's armed forces are expected to increase to about 300,000 troops, including 250,000 full-time soldiers.

Poland will also raise defence spending from the Nato-recommended minimum level of 2 percent of GDP to 3 percent.

The bill also defines new sources of military funding.

Additionally, the Polish armed forces will be allowed to lease military equipment.

Preparations for the bill were announced a few months ago by Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, but its approval by the government in late February coincided with increasing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Kaczyński said at the time that "Poland must have at its disposal the armed forces adequate to the kind of situation we have today - forces that will be able to fend off an attack and will be strong enough to prevent such as attack from happening."