Poland will shortly start enrolling the first volunteers in a 35,000-member paramilitary force aimed at parrying a perceived threat from Russia, Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz said.

“Enrollment of the first members of the territorial defence force will start in September,” Mr Macierewicz said at a conference of paramilitary organisations in the northern town of Ostroda.

The force’s command structure and senior appointments were decided in April, the minister said, according to a report by PAP news agency.

Comprising civilians who have had military training, the force is intended to deter Russia from seizing Polish territory by infiltration, as it is perceived to have done in eastern Ukraine.

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