Europe

Eastern Poland to have regional defense troops this year

Poland's defense minister says he has signed documents to create a nationwide territorial defense, and its first units will be launched in the east of the country this year.

Antoni Macierewicz said Monday three brigades, or some 18,000, unarmed troops will be ready to help secure mass events and vital installations, organize emergency evacuations and provide logistical support to the armed forces. He did not specify whether they would be paid.

The so-called territorial defense will comprise grassroots initiatives of citizens concerned for their security and high school students training to be police officers, firefighters and others. They will be trained in the use of weapons, army tactics and first aid.

Poland is concerned for its security due to the crisis in neighboring Ukraine and hostile actions by neighbor Russia.