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Poland receives first batch of South Korean weapons

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People walk near a K9 howitzer as Poland receives its first delivery of South Korean K2 Black Panther tanks and howitzers at the port in Gdynia, Poland, on December 6, 2022. (Photo by via Reuters)

Poland has received a first batch of weapons from South Korea as it boosts its military amid a Russian war on Ukraine.

A first shipment of tanks and howitzers bought from South Korea arrived at Poland's Gdynia port on Tuesday.

In a first phase, the country has reportedly purchased from the South Korean Hyundai Rotem manufacturers 180 K2 “Black Panther” tanks. By 2026, 800 more of a newer model called the K2PL will be built in Poland.

Poland also bought 48 K9 howitzers to be delivered this year, with a planned purchase of some 600 more to begin in 2024, with domestic production scheduled to start in 2026.

In July, Poland announced that as part of its weapons purchases, it would buy 32 AW149 multi-role military helicopters worth 1.75 billion euros ($1.77 billion) from Italian arms company Leonardo. And, it has also ordered 366 American Abrams tanks. In addition to these, Poland said it would get European surface-to-air missile systems to boost its defenses against airstrikes.

Last month, a deadly blast from a reportedly stray Ukrainian missile hit a Polish village.

Meanwhile, Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Tuesday that the country would also be receiving Patriot missile launchers from Germany. Blaszczak said Germany’s Patriot missile launchers, which were initially planned to be deployed to Ukraine, will be brought to Poland instead.

A spokesman for the German Defense Ministry told AFP that “possible deployment locations and the necessary infrastructure are now being discussed at the technical level and a reconnaissance team is due to be sent immediately to Poland.”

Russia started what it calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24. Announcing the offensive, Moscow said it aimed to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions — which it has since annexed — but almost simultaneously attacked the capital and other regions in Ukraine as well.

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