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Poland is putting western Europe to shame

Polish soldiers on military exercise last week. Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Getty

The Ukraine war has created an unlikely new power in Europe, says The Wall Street Journal: Poland. In a bid to deter Vladimir Putin, the country has been on an “arms-buying spree” that puts western Europe’s measly defence spending to shame. Last month, Polish officials announced a $2.3bn deal to buy missiles from the UK – the largest deal of its kind by any Nato member since the invasion. That’s on top of the $30bn of military kit they have ordered from the US, including advanced Himars rocket launchers. New legislation passed in Warsaw mandates military spending of at least 3% of GDP – higher than the 2% set by Nato, which 21 of the treaty’s 30 members already fail to fulfil. This will see Poland’s military manpower doubled to 300,000, including the recruitment of 50,000 “part-time warriors”.

Poland’s financial commitments to Ukraine now top 0.6% of its GDP, including $2.5bn in military support – more than France, which has an economy about four times larger. It has also taken in 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees, who now comprise around 4% of the entire population. Officials in Warsaw have clocked something that most Western leaders ignore: Putin’s “territorial ambitions” won’t be sated if he’s allowed to capture Ukraine; he’ll just move on to another target. Given all this, Poland may be replacing Germany as “the indispensable Nato ally in Europe”.