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Poland plans to deploy up to 10,000 troops to Belarus border

10.08.2023 12:30
Poland will deploy 10,000 soldiers at the border with Belarus to support the border guard, the country’s defence minister has said.
Photo:PAP/Artur Reszko

Mariusz Błaszczak announced the plan in an interview with public broadcaster Polish Radio on Thursday, the state PAP news agency reported. 

The defence minister said: “About 10,000 soldiers will be on the border, of which 4,000 will directly support the Border Guard and 6,000 will be in the reserve."

Błaszczak added: “We move the army closer to the border with Belarus to scare away the aggressor so that it does not dare to attack us."

On Wednesday, Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wąsik said that Poland would deploy 2,000 extra troops to bolster its border with Belarus, amid tensions with the Russian ally.

It came after hundreds of Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries had relocated to Belarus in July, at the invitation of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, the Reuters news agency reported.

On July 30, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński described the Wagner Group as “an extremely dangerous armed force” and “a Russian tool.”

He added that Wagner troops had arrived in Belarus “to create some new threats … perhaps to infiltrate our border.” 

Belarus continues its military exercises near the border this week, and Lukashenko has said several times that he was restraining Wagner fighters who want to attack Poland, the Reuters news agency reported.

Moreover, Poland has seen an increase in attempts to illegally cross into the country from Belarus, mainly by migrants from the Middle East and Africa, Reuters noted.

On Monday, Tomasz Praga, the head of the Border Guard agency, said that there had been 19,000 attempts to cross illegally into Poland from Belarus this year, compared with less than 16,000 in the whole of 2022, the PAP news agency reported.

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

Thursday is day 533 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: polskieradio.pl, PAP, Reuters