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Poland prepared to ensure security of NATO's eastern flank: defence minister

03.08.2023 22:30
Poland is prepared and ready to ensure the security of NATO's eastern flank in response to the deployment of Russian mercenary troops in Belarus, the Polish defence minister said on Thursday.
Polands Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak (right) speaks during a meeting with military commanders in the northeastern city of Białystok on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023.
Poland's Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak (right) speaks during a meeting with military commanders in the northeastern city of Białystok on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023.Photo: PAP/Michał Zieliński

Mariusz Błaszczak was speaking during a meeting with military commanders and soldiers in the northeastern city of Białystok.

The meeting was held after the Polish government earlier this week decided to move additional troops and combat helicopters to the Belarusian border, following an incident in which two Belarusian helicopters breached Polish airspace during an air exercise in the area, according to officials.

"We are all aware that today Belarus, in military terms, is part of Russia's plan to rebuild its empire," Błaszczak said in Białystok on Thursday.

He added, as quoted by Polish state news agency PAP: "All those hybrid attacks on Polish territory are certainly being coordinated by the Kremlin. And our task, the task of the Polish army, is to prevent the destabilization of Poland, because after all the purpose of these attacks is to destabilize Poland."

"We must be aware that there will be more provocations in the future," he warned.

"Everything indicates that we will have a lot of work, that you will have a lot of work to ensure the security of our homeland," he said, addressing soldiers gathered at Białystok's Krywlany Airport.

"The regime in the east will not be able to destabilize Poland thanks to your service," he added.

"We are prepared and ready to ensure security on NATO's eastern flank and in eastern Poland," Błaszczak declared.

Earlier on Thursday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda met in the northeastern Polish city of Suwałki, near Russia’s westernmost region of Kaliningrad, to discuss border security amid Russia's war in Ukraine and the deployment of Russian mercenary troops in Belarus.

The Polish prime minister told reporters on Thursday that Russia and Belarus were "stepping up their numerous provocations in order to destabilise the border of NATO's eastern flank."

The Polish prime minister said at the end of last month that Poland was guarding its border with Belarus "with full determination" against a threat from Wagner Group mercenaries stationed there.

Morawiecki said at the time that more than 100 Wagner fighters had moved to the Suwałki Corridor area on the Polish-Lithuanian border, which separates the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea from Belarus.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Thursday was day 526 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP