Poland to host centre for cooperation between NATO and Ukraine

A joint NATO-Ukrainian centre for analysis, training and education will be established in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz, Poland’s defence minister has announced.

The centre’s creation is “the first initiative of its kind between NATO and Ukraine,” noted Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz following a meeting with his NATO counterparts in Brussels.

It will play an important role in compiling “lessons learned from the war in Ukraine” and will provide support to Kyiv, which is still in a state of conflict, added the minister, quoted by news service Defence24.

Increasing defense capabilities, new means of aid for 🇺🇦 and the establishment of #NATO-Ukraine Joint Center for Analysis, Training and Education in Poland were discussed. I raised a key issue with the 🇩🇪&🇫🇷 ministers- the resumption of our cooperation within the Weimar Triangle pic.twitter.com/sMNgRKgAE3

— Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz (@KosiniakKamysz) February 16, 2024

“We have full agreement; we are starting the creation of this centre,” said the minister, adding that “all member states support this initiative”.

“It is Poland’s success that it is being created in Poland; it is Poland’s success that it is being created at all,” continued Kosiniak-Kamysz. He did not give a date for the centre’s establishment, saying only that it “depends on our determination”.

The minister also called on Europe to allocate more resources to its defence sector, reports the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

“We must do everything we can to have the best armaments today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow – not 10 years from now, not 20 years from now,” he declared. “Europe must wake up. European industry must wake up. We must shift European resources to the arms industry.”

The EU must turn itself into a „military power”, said @donaldtusk as he visited Paris and Berlin for the first time since returning as prime minister.

Tusk also declared that Germany still owes Poland „moral, financial and material compensation” for WWIIhttps://t.co/LNrQX13ztE

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) February 13, 2024

The minister underlined that the countries of NATO’s eastern flank meet the alliance’s commitment to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence. He added that Poland is going even further, spending 4.3% of GDP on defence, half of which is devoted to modernisation of its armed forces.

Kosiniak-Kamysz did not say, however, in which year Poland reached or will reach the 4.3% spending level. According to NATO’s preliminary estimates, in 2023, Poland spent $29.1 billion on defence, which was 3.9% of its GDP. That was the highest relative level in the alliance.

Reaching 4% of GDP in defence spending was a pledge of the previous Law and Justice (PiS) government, which lost power in December.

In Brussels, Kosiniak-Kamysz also announced the resumption of defence cooperation within the framework of the Weimar Triangle, a platform for political cooperation between France, Germany, and Poland created in 1991, which has rarely been used in recent years.

The minister said the first meeting on defence in this format would take place in Poland before the NATO summit in Washington in July this year.

As part of Poland’s efforts to revive the Weimar Triangle, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk made visits this week to Paris and Berlin, where he called on the EU to become a “military power”.

Before the NATO summit in Washington, Poland is also planning talks at the White House. On 12 March, both Tusk and Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, are due to meet US President Joe Biden there.

On 12 March, on the anniversary of Poland’s entry into NATO, @POTUS Joe Biden will receive both Polish @prezydentpl Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister @donaldtusk at the White House.

They will discuss the upcoming NATO summit in Washington https://t.co/bJItxWXPeC

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) February 16, 2024


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Main image credit: Defence Ministry (under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 PL)

Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.

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