Poland has spent billions of dollars on military equipment from the United States, in addition to Korean-made weapons.
The United States will lend $2 billion to Poland’s military, utilizing a seldom utilized funding mechanism to bolster Poland’s push to rebuild in the aftermath of the Ukraine war.
The financing, which was announced on Monday, would be made available under the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing program. The program primarily funds foreign military purchases through grants, but it also lets the United States to lend to countries. According to a State Department official, the last such loan was made to Iraq in 2017, following ISIS’s ascension to power.
In the 2023 budget, the State Department sought slightly more than $6 billion in foreign military finance awards, similar to proposals made in 2021 and 2022.
However, with billions already spent in response to Ukraine, there is little left over to disburse as gifts to friends. The US can continue to support Poland by structuring the assistance as a loan, according to a State Department official.
According to the State Department, the US will also provide Poland with up to $60 million in loan financing rate reductions.
Poland, already a major NATO spender, has launched a large re-armament effort in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Shortly after Russia invaded, Warsaw announced a five-year plan to raise the size of the Polish Army to 300,000 soldiers. The Polish government has stated that it will increase its defense expenditure to 4% of GDP this year, more than doubling NATO’s aim of 2%.
The purchase of 980 K2 Black Panther tanks, 648 self-propelled howitzers, and 48 FA-50 fighter planes from South Korea last year accounted for a substantial amount of this spending. Poland reportedly plans to purchase 366 US-made Abrams tanks and 96 US-made Apache helicopters worth $12 billion.
According to a State Department news statement, the loan would fund “urgent procurements of defense articles and services from the United States,” although it does not indicate which equipment will be paid for with the loan.
Poland is increasing military spending in the face of rising prices and a faltering economy. The country will hold legislative elections on October 15, with the current government in power.