In the face of a potential Russian invasion, Polish civilians are taking steps to defend themselves from their threatening neighbours.
The Polish Ministry of Defence is encouraging Polish paramilitary groups to sign up for a newly established Territorial Defence Force (TDF), which will start recruiting in September.
Antoni Macierewicz, the Polish minister for defence, plans for the TDF to be one of the country’s first lines of defence against any potential Russian aggression, The Mirror reports.
Macierewicz won’t struggle to find potential volunteers – since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the number of civilians enlisted in private armies has tripled to nearly 80,000 people.
There are roughly 120 paramilitary groups currently active in Poland, and they take their responsibility to their country very seriously, arming themselves with real guns and training constantly.
The various groups believe they’re a necessary arm of the military to fight foreign aggression.
In a documentary last year, Damian Duda of student paramilitary Legia Akademicka, said:
We must be like the human body when bacteria invade. The antibodies are already there. They don’t need to be formed.
It’s worth noting, however, that these groups often have links to the far right, are well armed and have no qualms with using violence.
The moment someone tries to shoot me, he signs his own death warrant. With the attempt to kill me, he kills himself.
Not everyone’s pleased with the creation TDF though and there are fears it’ll legitimise links between Polish paramilitaries and the country’s more racist right wing groups.
The latest scheme from the Ministry of Defence to create 17 territorial armies indicates a level of enthusiasm for the local population’s growing militarism.
As part of the scheme, members will receive both proper military training and be paid a monthly wage of 500 zloty ( £97), to pay for their uniforms and ammunition.
Watch out Russia…