GDYNIA, Poland ( Associated Press) — Polish President Andrzej Duda and his defense minister received the first shipment of tanks and guns from South Korea on Tuesday, celebrating the speedy implementation of an agreement signed months ago between the war in neighboring Poland and Ukraine .
Duda and Mariusz Blaszczak were the first to receive 10 Black Panther K2 tanks and 24 Thunder K9 howitzers at the Gdynia naval base on the Baltic. The total value of the transaction is $5.9 billion.
He noted that Seoul was ready to respond to a need from EU member Warsaw to ramp up its deterrent power and defense capability as Russia waged war in Ukraine across Poland’s eastern border.
“The rapid pace of this delivery is of vital importance in the face of Russian aggression and the war in Ukraine,” Duda said.
“This is the future, this is the real strengthening of Poland’s security,” said Duda, standing in front of tanks and guns.
“To stop the invasion, it is necessary for the army to have this modern weapon to stop the enemy,” he said.
Korean government and arms industry officials were also present at the ceremony on a cold and rainy day.
Eom Dong-hwan, minister of the South Korean Arms Agency, said the arrival of the weapons “holds great significance for the history of Korean-Polish relations.”
The EOM said that “the world is closely watching” the rapid development of defense cooperation between the two countries, expressing hope that the tanks and guns will play an important role in defending Poland at a time of “rapid changes in the security situation”.