WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Dozens of fighter jets soared, tanks rumbled and hundreds of troops marched in a Polish military parade Saturday, a show of force on the national armed forces' holiday.
Poland's new President Andrzej Duda, who is the armed forces' supreme commander, received the parade in downtown Warsaw, along with Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and Defense Minister Tomasza Siemoniak.
F-16 and MiG-29 fighters flew overhead, while Rosomak and Stryker armored vehicles and Langusta missile launchers rumbled through downtown Warsaw. U.S. and Canadian troops, taking part in NATO exercises in Poland, also participated.
Duda, who took office Aug. 6, said he wants to strengthen Poland's armed forces and raise NATO presence as a deterrent in face of a resurgent Russia and an armed conflict in neighboring Ukraine.
"I would like us to have a state that is capable of defending those who are weaker and does not have to be afraid of those who are stronger," said Duda, a Catholic conservative. He was quoting the words of his political mentor, the late President Lech Kaczynski, who was killed in a 2010 plane crash in Russia.
The Aug. 15 holiday marks Poland's victory over Russian Bolsheviks in 1920 near Warsaw.