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Poland’s defence minister has said that the country’s Territorial Defence Force (WOT) is slated to reach a minimum size of 50,000 personnel.
On Saturday, Mariusz Błaszczak took part in a swearing-in ceremony of soldiers from Poland’s volunteer force which forms part of the country’s defence and deterrence system.
At the event held in Lublin, eastern Poland, the Polish defence minister and deputy prime minister, said that Poland was expanding its army and forming new brigades of the Territorial Defence Forces.
“The Territorial Defense Forces will grow at a dynamic pace,” he said.
Błaszczak added that Poland aimed to increase the number of soldiers in the Polish armed forces to 300,000, including 250,000 professional soldiers and 50,000 WOT volunteers.
He added that last year a record number of 13,742 professional soldiers joined the Polish army. “This is a record since the abolition of compulsory military service,” he said.
According to him, Poland now has about 36,000 WOT troops and around 128,000 soldiers of various formations.
Poland suspended mandatory conscription in 2010 to professionalise its armed forces.
In March 2022, Poland adopted a new law on homeland defence, which introduced a one-year-long military service voluntarily.
Those who want to join the military now have three options. They can become professional soldiers, decide to do basic military service or join the territorial defence forces.