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Poland’s president calls on NATO allies to raise defense spending against Russian ‘war mode’ economy

NATO allies in Europe must bolster their defense spending to respond to Russia’s “war mode” economy, Polish President Andrzej Duda said Monday, calling Russia’s enduring incursion in Ukraine “the biggest threat to global peace since the end of the Cold War.”

“A return to the status quo ante is not possible. Russia’s imperialistic ambitions and aggressive revisionism are pushing Moscow toward a direct confrontation with NATO, with the West and, ultimately, with the whole free world,” Duda said in an op-ed in the Washington Post.

Duda called on member states to raise defense spending to 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Members of NATO previously agreed to a 2 percent increase because of Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has told President Biden that members across the alliance will “sustain and step up” defense spending, as they’ve historically fallen short of 2 percent.

Duda said Poland will use the presidency of the European Union — which it holds for the first half of 2025 — to push a stronger NATO and a “more active U.S. presence across the military, economic and political domains” in Europe.

Presidency of the EU means that a nation is able to determine the major issues and overall agenda of the body throughout its 18-month program.

Duda is set to meet with Biden to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Poland joining NATO and to signal commitment to the alliance and to continued support of Ukraine.

Duda said he will propose to Biden that NATO members raise the requirement on defense spending, and said that the U.S. and Poland — which has regularly surpassed 4 percent in its spending — will lead by example.

The leaders will also discuss bolstering Poland’s eastward defenses against Russia. Poland shares a border with both Russia and Ukraine.

Duda’s belief in the power of NATO and the importance of U.S. support comes as former President Trump has said Russia can do “whatever the hell they want” with NATO allies that do not meet defense spending obligations.

Trump met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at Mar-a-Lago on Monday. Orbán said the former president will not give “a single penny” to Ukraine, and that a lack of U.S. support will end the conflict.

Trump has previously claimed that he will end the Russia-Ukraine war in 24 hours, and some concern that Trump would cede Ukrainian territory to Russia to do so.

Poland has been one of the most energetic supporters of the Ukrainian resistance, becoming the first NATO member to provide fighter jets in 2023, for example. There must be “a common strategy of support for Ukraine,” whose invasion has been the most serious challenge to the rules-based international order, Duda said.

“Poland believes that NATO is the main global pillar of security, a community of free nations founded on universal values,” he said. “Poland believes that this strength, stemming from unity, cannot be matched by any aggressive power.”

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