Territorial Defence Force numbers 26,000 and growing - MoD

Territorial Defence Force numbers 26,000 and growing - MoD Piotr Polak/PAP

Poland's Territorial Defence Force (WOT) voluntary military formation already numbers over 26,000 soldiers and is growing steadily, Minister of Defence Mariusz Blaszczak said on Sunday in Radom during the WOT's feast day.

Blaszczak thanked the volunteer force for its full dedication and service, which he described as essential for Poland's security.

"When I took up my office on January 10, 2018, the Territorial Defence Force numbered 7,000 soldiers, today it numbers over 26,000 and the formation is consistently growing," Blaszczak said.

A ceremony was held in Radom on Sunday afternoon to mark the 81st anniversary of the emergence of the Polish Underground State, the WOT feast day and the handing over of the 6th Mazovian Territorial Defence Brigade's standard.

The defence minister stated that the basic function of the WOT during peace time is giving aid to people affected by natural disasters and that he had many times spoken with people affected by hurricanes or other disasters who "spoke with great gratitude of the service of WOT soldiers" that they were always ready and always close.