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Poland Purchases 250 US Tanks for Political Rather Than Security Reasons, Ex-Army Chief Says

© REUTERS / David MdzinarishviliU.S. M1A2 "Abrams" tank moves to firing positions during U.S. led joint military exercise "Noble Partner 2016" near Vaziani, Georgia, May 18, 2016
U.S. M1A2 Abrams tank moves to firing positions during U.S. led joint military exercise Noble Partner 2016 near Vaziani, Georgia, May 18, 2016 - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.10.2021
WARSAW (Sputnik) - Poland's purchase of 250 Abrams tanks from the United States was dictated by political rather than operational expediency, Gen. Mieczyslaw Gocul, former Chief of Polish Army's General Staff, said on Friday.
Poland expects to receive the 250 tanks model M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 in 2022. In September, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said that they will be deployed on the country's eastern border.
"Why do we buy 250 tanks, and not 500? We want to equal the military potential with the Russian Federation, which has, as far as I know, more than 20,000 tanks? We will never be even. The entire NATO has been trying to achieve military parity for 50 years and failed, so we don't have to try to do it on our own," Gocul, who served from 2013-2017, said.
The ex-Army Chief said that buying a large number of tanks is pointless without strong air defence to back them up, questioning Poland’s choice of weapons acquired.
"The question is, are we buying suitable weapons? In the current situation, we must, first of all, provide echeloned air defense. We do not have that," the general said, adding that two Patriot batteries Poland expects to receive by the end of this year "are not capable of defending even Warsaw. And what can we say about a large concentration of troops?"
Gocul added, referring to purchase, that "this is not an urgent operational need, but an urgent political need."
Poland has called on NATO to do more to rein in Russia, which the Polish government considers a primary security threat. Moscow has consistently denied any plans to attack other countries, including NATO members, but vowed to respond to any attempts to encroach on its territory or hinder its development.
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