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Poland speeds up process to buy new combat helicopters due to conflict in Ukraine

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WARSAW, Poland - Poland's defence ministry says it is accelerating the tender process for its acquisition of new combat helicopters due to the armed conflict in neighbouring Ukraine.

Spokesman Jacek Sonta said Thursday the ministry has moved up the deadline for choosing the provider of 30 new helicopters, which will replace the aging Russian-made Mi-24.

Among the 10 aircraft considered are the U.S. Apache AH-64E, made by Boeing, the Eurocopter Tiger, by a French-German consortium, and the British-Italian Agusta AW129 Mongoose, by AgustaWestland NV.

Sonta said the ministry is "watching the developments in Eastern Ukraine with anxiety" and that the officials hoped the new helicopters could be delivered already in 2017.

Earlier this week, Poland's leaders indicated that an aggravation of the conflict in Ukraine is possible.

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