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Iran Press TV

Poland signs $5.8bn arms deal with S Korea to replace weapons sent to Ukraine

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 27 August 2022 5:45 AM

Poland has sealed a weapons deal worth $5.8 billion with South Korea for the purchase of tanks, howitzers and ammunition as the east European nation aims to replace armaments shipped to Ukraine.

Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, who also serves as the country's defense minister, signed the arms deals on Friday at a military base in the northern Polish town of Morag and handed them to the head of South Korea's weapons acquisition program administration, Minister Eom Dong-hwan.

"It is most important that the first tanks and cannon howitzers will be available to Poland's army this year," Blaszczak underlined during the ceremony, boasting, "We are strengthening Poland's defenses."

Under the military contract with South Korea, Poland - a member of the US-led NATO military alliance -- is purchasing 180 K2 Black Panther tanks made by Hyundai Rotem and worth $3.4 billion, as well as 212 K9 Thunder howitzers -- built by Hanhwa Defense and worth $2.4 billion. The deals also include training, logistics and ammunition.

All of the weapons are expected to be delivered by the end of 2025, according to reports.

Speaking through an interpreter, the Korean minister further pointed to the good relations and trust that the two US allies have developed in their business, as well as social and cultural relations.

Also attending the ceremony were the heads of the Korean weapons manufacturers involved in the arms deals as well as Polish tank crews who will go to Korea for training in October.

Warsaw and Seoul also plan to sign an additional arms deal later this year for the purchase of 12 FA-50 warplanes, a light training and combat aircraft jointly produced by Korea Aerospace and major American arms maker, Lockheed Martin, according to Blaszczak.

Poland is also seeking a technology transfer from Korea so it can launch weapons production domestically.

Poland's right-wing government has made extra efforts to build up the country's armed forces in response to the continuing conflict in neighboring Ukraine.

Poland, along with most other European nations and the US, has shipped military equipment to Ukraine in the past six month as part of a US-led move to help Kiev wage a major battle against Russian forces.

Moscow began a "special military operation" in Ukraine as part of a measure to guard against NATO's persisting expansion closer to Russia's borders.

The Polish government is seeking to replace the armaments shipped to Ukraine, including the US-made Abrams tanks.

The development came amid reports that Washington plans to declare an additional $3 billion military aid for Ukraine in face of Russia's operation in the ex-Soviet republic.

The package would be the largest batch of weapons to be headed to Ukraine, since February 24, when Russia began its operation, Reuters reported, citing an American official as saying on Tuesday.

"The package uses funds from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) appropriated by Congress to allow the [President Joe] Biden administration to procure weapons from industry rather than taking weapons from existing US weapons stocks," the report said.

On Monday, various US media outlets, including Politico, published reports pointing out that Washington was providing Ukraine with more weapons than the Biden administration had publicly announced.

Washington has already provided Ukraine with $10.6 billion in military aid since the launch of the Russian operation.

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