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Poland adds 10,000 new soldiers to army as fears grow over what Putin might do next


Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has triggered a surge in patriotic sentiment among Polish citizens, leading to a desire to defend their nation, a defence spokesperson has revealed.

In response, the Polish army has initiated a programme aimed at recruiting and training the country’s youth to safeguard their homeland against potential Russian aggression.

Dubbed ‘Holidays with the Army’, this 28-day boot camp provides basic training to individuals over 18, many of whom have just finished high school. Officials have confirmed that participants will receive a stipend of 6,000 zlotys (€1,400).

This initiative was introduced by the military as part of its recruitment drive, as Poland seeks to expand its 198,000-strong army amidst rising fears of Russian aggression towards neighbouring Ukraine.

Concerns have been raised over whether Vladimir Putin may have designs on other countries formerly within the Soviet sphere of influence.

Many at the training in eastern Poland are new high school graduates of both young men and women aged 18 to 35.

They have signed up for the new summer programme.

Recruits who join the programme will rise early to learn combat and survival skills. When not in the field, they clean their quarters. There is no leaving the base, 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the border with Belarus, for visits home or nights out.

There has been great interest in the program, which is taking place at 70 locations across Poland, officials say.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has sparked an impulse among Poles to want to defend the nation, said Maj. Michal Tomczyk, a spokesperson at the Defense Ministry.

“We haven’t had such a threat since World War II,” Tomczyk said. He said they had planned for 10,000 volunteers for the program and have more than 11,000.

At the end of the training, the volunteers will take a soldier’s oath in which they swear “to serve loyally the Republic of Poland even at the cost of losing my life or blood.”

Those who choose a military life can join a branch of the professional armed services or the Territorial Defense Forces or be on standby as reservists, said Col. Pawel Galazka, commander of the 18th Lomza Logistics Regiment, a unit training the volunteers.

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