Polish president submits law to step up defence preparation

FILE PHOTO: Polish President Andrzej Duda gives anniversary statement
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WARSAW (Reuters) -Polish President Andrzej Duda has submitted to parliament a draft bill aimed at increasing defence readiness, citing new forms of threat from Russia, the National Security Bureau (BBN) said on Thursday.

Under the proposal, the general and operational military commands would be combined into a joint body in the NATO and European Union member state.

The draft also envisages new permanent defence plans ensuring the army's ability to respond to sudden threats immediately, and aims to boost the flow of information and coordination between Poland's civilian and military authorities.

"The proposal provides for introducing changes in the military and non-military areas, strengthening the capabilities to counteract hybrid threats, subliminal threats and direct armed aggression," BBN said in a statement.

It said the proposals were "a response to changes in the security environment, including new forms of threats from the Russian Federation directed against Poland and other European Union and NATO countries."

The Russian embassy in Poland said it was unable to comment on the BBN statement

"...because we are not aware of what both 'new' and 'old' forms of alleged 'threats from the Russian Federation directed against Poland and other EU and NATO countries' it refers to," it wrote in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Poland has increased its defence spending to over 4% of gross domestic product - more than the NATO guideline - in response to what authorities in Warsaw see as rising threats following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

(Reporting by Karol Badohal, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Nick Macfie)