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President Duda: this is an army of the Republic of Poland, not anyone's private army

TVN24 News in English

I am confident that in the process of modernization of the armed forces, we will maintain unity as politicians and that we will also be able to maintain unity within the Polish army,” said President Andrzej Duda during Armed Forces Day celebrations. “There is only one Polish army and it must not be split,” he stressed.

“I want to assure you that Polish authorities are doing their best to meet today's needs of the Polish army. That we are doing everything to be able to spend as much money as possible on the modernization of the Polish army. That we are doing everything to reverse the negative developments that took place in recent years,” claimed the President.

He added that he was confident mistakes could be rectified. “I am fully confident that just as we have been able to reverse the trends in defense financing, in military spending, we will also be able to reverse the harmful developments in the command system. Of course, there are different ideas, different visions, but I am convinced that all politicians in Poland, those who are in power today and those who are in the opposition, understand that the most important goal is the common good, and that the common good is, above all, the Republic, of which the Polish army is an integral part,” said the President.

“It is the army of the Republic of Poland, not anyone's private army,” Duda insisted.

“There is only one Polish army and it must not be split.”

“We are implementing an armed forces modernization program, and we are implementing a program of purchases, the results of which you will be able to watch during the parade,” said the President. He added that spending on Polish defense would be increased.

The President said he believed that defense spending could reach 2.5 percent of the GDP by 2030.

“These are very important tasks. It is most important that we should be able to defend our homeland in case anyone got the idea of raising a hand against Poland and the security of Poles,” he stressed.

He said he believed that we would manage to modernize the Polish army and increase its size in a calm, prudent, systematic and logical way.

“I am also deeply convinced that we will maintain unity as politicians in this process, and that we will also maintain unity within the Polish army. There is only one Polish army and it must not be split according to branches of armed forces or any other classification,” he said.

“A breakthrough”

Earlier in this speech, the President said that the Assumption of Mary, which is celebrated on 15 August, is a very important date for all Christians.

“But for Poles this has also been the day of the great Polish victory 97 years ago, the celebration of the greatness of the Polish army and the Polish nation,” he stressed.

“This is the day of victory in the Battle of Warsaw, the day of breakthrough in the Polish-Bolshevik war, which stopped Bolshevik aggression against Poland and, it is safe to say, against Europe as well, since such were the intentions of Bolshevik leaders, Lenin in particular,” said Andrzej Duda.

“A celebration of the values we cherish with great pride, and of our armed forces and our firmness.

“This breakthrough happened on the Feast of Saint Mary the Virgin, mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. For centuries, Polish knights sang Bogurodzica, the oldest Polish hymn in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as they went into battle. Because they firmly, wholeheartedly believed that the Most Holy Mother would protect them and their homeland,” said the President.

It was the conviction that they had “this protection – their faith – that gave strength to over a million soldiers in 1920, on 15 August. Why? Because it was and is an extraordinarily important part of the Polish spirit. It was a great demonstration of the Polish spirit, which could not be broken despite the 120 years of the Partitions. Which not only was able to win independence for Poland [...], but managed to repel a subsequent invasion and – despite the bloodshed – rise above all divisions, and thus became our great success. The fact that they all stood together, regardless of political differences, regardless of differences in strategy, and of personal ambition,” said Duda.

The President noted that, on the one hand, there was the head of state, Marshal Józef Piłsudski, “and on the other, generals, such as general Rozwadowski, a strategist of genius, and yet they were all able to come to an agreement and implement a brilliant plan for a counter attack, breaking through Russian lines, breaking through the front. This led to the defeat of the Bolsheviks, when it seemed they had already won.”

“We need well-trained soldiers”

“A million people, who had experienced combat mostly in the armies of the occupying powers, in Polish Legions, in the First World War. This was one of the fundamental elements, apart from the fighting spirit, that allowed us to repulse the Bolshevik invasion,” he said.

“Today, we need well-trained Polish soldiers, but we also need trained reservists. I believe that the Territorial Defence Force project will contribute to the achievement of this goal. I believe that we will be able to expand it with additional training components,” he continued.

President Duda thanked Polish soldiers and their families, as well as employees of the Polish Army. “I wish you all the best, and may God keep Polish soldiers in His care. May God keep us, Poles, in His care. May God keep the Republic in His care,” he concluded.

After the speech, President Duda laid a wreath before the statue of Marshal Józef Piłsudski near the Presidential Palace.

No new generals

Before his speech, the President awarded Commandery with Star of the Order of Merit of the People's Republic of Poland to Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, commander of United States Army Europe.

However, the President did not nominate any new generals. As reported by the National Security Bureau, “the President thought the ongoing work and lack of agreement on the new command system in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland did not create the right conditions to evaluate candidates for the position of general in a way that would reflect their abilities and the needs of the army.”

As noted by the Bureau, the President “expects that the National Security Bureau in cooperation with the Ministry of National Defence will soon work out solutions for the command system, which will make the appropriate staffing decisions possible.”


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