On Monday, December 18, President Andrzej Duda traveled to the air base in Amari, Estonia, to attend a unique Christmas Eve meeting with Polish airmen stationed at the strategic facility. The Polish President’s visit to the airbase was part of a broader program to highlight the importance of defense cooperation between Poland and Estonia, as well as an opportunity to express gratitude and support for the Polish armed forces stationed abroad[1].

The Polish Military Contingent Orlik is an extremely important part of Poland’s involvement in NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, which aims to patrol and protect the airspace of the Baltic states, which do not have their own combat aviation[2].

It is worth noting that the Polish Military Contingent Orlik does not operate independently, but as part of an integrated force with the participation of other allied countries. The presence of U.S. and Spanish soldiers in the mission underscores the multinational nature of the operation, which reinforces joint allied efforts to ensure stability and security in the region.

Stationing the twelfth shift of Eagles at the Amari base until March 2024 is the next stage in Poland’s long-standing commitment to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing operations[3]. Some 150 Polish soldiers, along with four armed F-16 fighters, make a significant contribution to strengthening security on the alliance’s eastern flank. The presidential visit and meeting with Orlik soldiers underscore the importance of Poland’s commitment to defending common alliance values and maintaining stability in the Baltic area.

The Christmas Eve meeting with airmen was not only official, but also personal. The president had the opportunity to learn more about the conditions of service of Polish soldiers stationed abroad, to understand their challenges and needs. Such face-to-face meetings are crucial to keep the military motivated, especially during the holiday season, when many soldiers are away from family and loved ones. President Duda’s visit was an excellent opportunity to thank them for their service and to send them good wishes for the upcoming holidays[4]:

Please accept our special respects, thanks and wishes in this pre-Christmas time, that Christmas may be peaceful for you, that it may be one that – despite the remoteness, the various dangers you are often in – brings peace to your hearts and brings peace to your souls,” – said Andrzej Duda.

In addition to meeting with airmen, President Andrzej Duda also spoke with Estonian President Alar Karis. Cooperation between Poland and Estonia is not limited to the defense field, but also includes political, economic and cultural aspects. The talks between the two leaders were aimed at discussing current bilateral issues, as well as common challenges, such as regional security, economic development and cooperation within the European Union.

We are discussing security issues, the recent decisions of the European Council related to the accession negotiations of Ukraine and Moldova, as well as the situation on our countries’ borders with Belarus, President Andrzej Duda said, referring to his conversation with the Estonian leader[5].


Tekst powstał w ramach realizacji zadania publicznego zleconego w ramach Rządowego Programu Rozwoju Organizacji Obywatelskich na lata 2018–2030 r. „Bezpieczna Polska jutra – rozwój działań misyjnych Alioth Foundation”.



Photo: Marek Borawski / KP RP , https://www.prezydent.pl/malzonka-prezydenta/aktywnosc/estonia-swiateczne-spotkanie-z-zolnierzami-polskiego-kontyngentu,78967 [accessed: 19.12.2023]

[1] Andrzej Duda’s visit to Estonia. The president will meet with soldiers of the Polish contingent, online – https://polskieradio24.pl/5/1223/artykul/3302370,wizyta-andrzeja-dudy-w-estonii-prezydent-spotka-sie-z-zolnierzami-polskiego-kontyngentu [accessed: 18.12.2023].

[2] Ibidem.

[3] Official site Polish Army, 12th PKW ORLIK mission, online – https://www.wojsko-polskie.pl/articles/tym-zyjemy-v/2023-12-04z-12-misja-pkw-orlik/ [accessed: 18.12.2023].

[4] Estonia. Christmas meeting with soldiers of the Polish contingent – online, https://www.prezydent.pl/malzonka-prezydenta/aktywnosc/estonia-swiateczne-spotkanie-z-zolnierzami-polskiego-kontyngentu,78967 [accesed: 19.12.2023r]

[5] Ibidem.