Poland on Tuesday received the first shipment of tanks and howitzers that it bought from South Korea as part of a drive to boost its defenses following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
An EU and NATO member, Poland borders both Russia and Ukraine and has increased its purchase of weaponry after Kremlin began its war.
In July, it signed contracts to buy South Korean weapons including tanks, artillery and fighter jets.
The weapons “are necessary to prevent an aggression,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said during a ceremony at the Gdynia port on Tuesday, where the first purchased tanks and howitzers were delivered.
As part of the deal, Poland is to initially buy 180 K2 “Black Panther” tanks built by Hyundai Rotem before eventually acquiring more than 800 of a special variant to be called K2PL, production of which is start in Poland in 2026.
It also bought 48 K9 howitzers to be delivered this year, with a planned purchase of another approximately 600 to begin in 2024, with domestic production slated to start in 2026.
As part of its weapons purchases, Poland in July said it would buy 32 AW149 multi-role military helicopters worth 1.75 billion euros ($1.77 billion) from Italian arms company Leonardo.
And it has also ordered 366 American Abrams tanks and European surface-to-air missile systems.
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