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    NATO Summit in Vilnius: Strengthening Transatlantic Security and Addressing the Russian Threat

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    From July 11th to 12th, Mariusz Błaszczak, the Minister of National Defense, participated in the NATO summit in Vilnius as part of the delegation led by President Andrzej Duda.

    The NATO Summit in Vilnius was another important event for the future of the Alliance and Euro-Atlantic security, following the meeting in Madrid in 2022. Its goal was to demonstrate the enduring transatlantic bond and the allies’ readiness to counter threats from all strategic directions, particularly from Russia.

    “Russia is no longer a partner of NATO in any way. For many years, it was called a NATO partner, and for many years, they were allies who strongly advocated for including Russia as a partner in NATO documents,”

    said President Andrzej Duda after the NATO Summit in Vilnius.

    “There are no doubts today that Russia is an aggressor, and it is the biggest threat to NATO member states. It is called so directly and openly. It is conducting an aggressive war in Ukraine, as NATO also labels it. It is estimated that if an attack on the Brest Gate were to occur, we could count on approximately 100,000 NATO soldiers to be immediately deployed for defense. These are the assumptions that are currently accepted and have been approved by the Alliance as part of defense plans,”

    he added.

    During the press conference, the President emphasized that Belarus was mentioned five times in the final communiqué, with special consideration given to the Brest Gate as a strategic and military threat area that will be closely observed and monitored by NATO. He also noted that this has implications for discussions on security and NATO’s nuclear umbrella.

    “We need weapon depots to relocate soldiers without having to bring the entire infrastructure along with them. These armaments must be stockpiled. Such a decision has been made. When someone asks about Poland’s role, I always say that yes, it is important for Poland, but it is more about the Eastern flank because NATO looks at it from that perspective. It does not look at it individually but considers a certain defense doctrine. Within this doctrine, the task will also be fulfilled in our country, and we can confidently say that this is our success. We have sought this, and it is happening. For the first time since the Cold War, the Alliance has created and approved defense plans.”,

    the President said.

    One of the main topics of the summit, also crucial for Poland, was the adoption of a package of decisions to strengthen deterrence and defense. Another important topic was the support for Ukraine in repelling Russian aggression, further actions to support defense reforms, and the realization of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Additionally, NATO heads of state and government pledged to increase defense spending beyond 2024.

    The President commented on the decision by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who agreed to submit a request for Sweden’s accession to NATO to the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

    “It is not possible to accept Ukraine into the Alliance on full terms today because if Ukraine were to be accepted on full terms, with full membership rights, it should be assumed that on the same or the next day, it would invoke Article 5, which is collective defense. Ukraine’s entry into the North Atlantic Alliance, hopefully in the near future, will undoubtedly be a significant strengthening of the military and defense potential of our security community.”,

    said the President of the Republic of Poland, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

    During the first day of the summit, the Polish delegation participated in three meetings of the North Atlantic Council: one at the level of NATO heads of state and government, another at the level of defense ministers, and a third at the level of foreign ministers. The latter meeting included Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Moldova, as well as representatives of the European Union.

    On the sidelines of the proceedings, Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak, along with defense ministers of coalition countries, signed a statement on cooperation aimed at preparing Ukrainian personnel for the use of F-16 aircraft.

    “I would like to thank Denmark and the Netherlands for initiating and coordinating this crucial initiative. It is further proof of our determination to support Ukraine against the brutal Russian invasion. I declare my support by opening access to our training infrastructure and courses.”,

    said the Minister of Defense after signing the document.

    The Polish Minister of Defense also held discussions with allies on security and increasing military interoperability. Minister M. Błaszczak and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin discussed issues related to the challenges facing NATO and support for Ukraine. At the end of the first day of deliberations, at the Polish Embassy in Vilnius, the Minister of Defense met with Special Forces soldiers who are part of the Polish contingent aimed at enhancing summit security. Their presence is a sign of solidarity and NATO’s determination to ensure security.

    On the second day of the NATO Summit, another session of the North Atlantic Council at the level of heads of state and government took place, involving NATO partners from the Indo-Pacific region (Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea). Additionally, the inaugural meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council was held. During this meeting, a package of measures to strengthen political cooperation and provide practical support for Ukraine was adopted.

    The President of the Republic of Poland and the Minister of National Defense also met with the President of the United States. The topics of discussion included matters related to the security of NATO’s eastern flank and support for Ukraine in its fight.

    During his stay in Vilnius, Minister Mariusz Błaszczak also held talks with the Latvian Minister of Defense. The discussions focused on the security situation in the region, including the war in Ukraine, as well as bilateral and multinational military cooperation. The Minister of Defense also participated in a bilateral meeting between the Presidents of Poland and Finland, where they discussed strengthening the Alliance and the essence of NATO’s deterrence policy.

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