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Polish Defense Minister: 10,000 troops to be stationed at border with Belarus

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 10, 2023 12:18 PM 2 min read
Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak listens to speeches during the Ukraine Defence Contact Group meeting at NATO headquarters on June 15, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

The Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said on Aug. 10 that 10,000 soldiers will be moved to the country's border with Belarus "to scare away the aggressor so that it does not dare attack us."

He told a public radio interviewer that 4,000 will directly support the Border Guard and 6,000 will be in the reserve.

"We have to be ready for various scenarios, we do not exclude anything," Błaszczak said.

The numbers are double that quoted by the Polish Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wasik on Aug. 9, who said that Poland will deploy an additional 2,000 soldiers to support the Border Guard.  

Speaking to the Polish Press Agency (PAP), Wasik said the reinforcements will be deployed in the Lublin and Podlaskie provinces within the next two weeks. There are already 2,000 soldiers stationed at the border along with the Border Guard units.

While the prime minister warned earlier that Wagner fighters can try to infiltrate Poland from Belarus, Wasik told the PAP that the mercenaries do not threaten Polish security "in a tactical sense."

The situation on the Polish-Belarusian border has been growing tense for the past two years. Since 2021, Minsk has been sending migrants mainly from the Middle East to the borders of Poland and the Baltic countries, facilitating an artificial migrant crisis.

Recently, the tensions surged again as Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wagner Group fighters began pouring into Belarus following their short-lived uprising against the Kremlin.

Since then, Wagner mercenaries conducted military exercises with Belarusian soldiers in Brest Oblast near the Polish border.

On July 29, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki claimed that 100 Wagner mercenaries had been deployed near the Suwalki Corridor, a strategic strip of land between Poland and Lithuania that also divides Belarus from Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast.

Adding to the growing tension, two Belarusian helicopters violated Polish airspace on Aug. 1.

On Aug. 5, Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski told CNN that the government is “considering any steps that will be necessary to protect" Polish territory.

Belarus Weekly: Helicopters violate Polish airspace; Wagner moves closer to border
Tensions rise after Belarusian helicopters cross into Polish territory, the country’s state border service said on Aug. 1. Poland also alleges that around 100 Wagner mercenaries are transferred closer to the Suwalki Corridor, bringing tensions to a new high. Subscribe to the NewsletterBelarus…

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