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Poland Forming New Defense Force To Ward Off Threats From Russia

Polish Army soldiers take part in a NATO military exercise in June 2016.

Poland says it will build a new territorial defense force of 53,000 volunteers by 2019 in order to guard against threats from Russia.

Defense Minister Atoni Macierewicz said on November 14 that the force will be similar to the U.S. National Guard in that it is comprised of civilians who undergo military training.

Macierewicz said the force would deter Russia from seizing Polish territory by infiltration, as it is accused of having done in eastern Ukraine.

"It is also the best response to the dangers of a hybrid war like the one...following Russia's aggression in Ukraine," Macierewicz said, giving Moscow's illegal annexation in 2014 of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula as an example.

Military experts say hybrid warfare is a tactic employed by Russia that uses deception rather than a formal declaration of war.

Based on reporting by AFP and PPA