Polish president argues for stronger army

Poland will have to increase the size of its armed forces and buy modern equipment to deter a potential aggressor, Duda said in Lipsko, central-east Poland, on Tuesday. Adam Kumorowicz/PAP

Modernisation of the armed forces is going to cost Poland huge money but the expenditure is necessary in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, has said.

Poland will have to increase the size of its armed forces and buy modern equipment to deter a potential aggressor, Duda said in Lipsko, central-east Poland, on Tuesday.

"We'll have to spend huge money on it," the president said. "I'm aware that this money could go to other purposes." Among such needs, he mentioned road construction and improving the health service.

"But what is it all worth if we lose independence and freedom, what is it all worth if we are threatened by death?" Duda asked.

"It's not a joke, I was in Borodianka, I was on the outskirts of Kyiv and I was in Irpin where I saw what Russian soldiers are capable of," he said.

"And please believe me, we need to modernise our army to the level that no-one dares attack us."

Poland has been stepping up its defence potential with a number of armament purchases and recent declarations to increase the number of professional soldiers to 250,000 from the current number of just over 110,000.

Poland has also passed a law that will increase the defence spending as a share of the country's GDP to 3 percent from the Nato-recommended 2-percent level.