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Poland to send special forces to protect NATO summit in Lithuania

29.06.2023 22:30
Poland will send a contingent of special forces to Lithuania next month to help protect NATO's July 11-12 summit in Vilnius, authorities have said.
Photo:Piotr Drabik from Poland, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The decision was announced after a meeting of senior officials convened by President Andrzej Duda on Thursday afternoon.

The talks focused on preparations for the annual summit of NATO leaders, which will this year be held in the Lithuanian capital amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, Poland's PAP news agency reported.

Those in attendance at the Warsaw meeting included Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, senior presidential aide Marcin Przydacz, and the head of the Polish president's National Security Bureau (BBN), Jacek Siewiera, according to public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency.

Poland to send special forces to protect NATO summit in Lithuania

Afterwards, Siewiera told a media briefing: “In the immediate future, Poland will send a contingent of special forces to Lithuania, with a mission to carry out exercises, as well as to reinforce the protection of the NATO summit in Vilnius.”

Siewiera said the deployment of Polish special forces to the Baltic neighbour stemmed from "international arrangements made by President Duda.”  

Duda on Tuesday attended a working dinner of NATO heads of state and government in The Hague, the Netherlands, before holding talks with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and Lithuania’s Gitanas Nausėda in Kyiv on Wednesday.  

Siewiera said: “This contingent of special forces will carry out its mission in Lithuania using means of air transport, such as helicopters, and anti-drone systems.”

The exercises will be conducted in the Suwałki Corridor area on the Polish-Lithuanian border, which separates the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea from Belarus, the IAR news agency reported.

“This mission to Lithuania has been agreed upon with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak,” Siewiera said.

Polish leaders discuss security risk from Wagner’s regrouping in Belarus

Siewiera told reporters that Thursday’s meeting of Poland’s top officials also focused on "the security risk" posed by the reported movement of the Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner Group of mercenaries to Belarus, following their aborted mutiny against Russia at the weekend.

The Polish national security chief said: “Today’s meeting explored all the consequences of the presence in Belarus of Yevgeny Prigozhin and the mercenaries from his private military company.”

He added that Poland’s top officials discussed “the threats this may entail for Poland, both asymmetric ones and those linked to planned, artificial, forced migration, using migrants as a means of aggressive action.”

“All of these aspects were discussed and this is also why certain steps have been taken in recent days," Siewiera said.

Poland on Wednesday announced it would reinforce its eastern border in response to plans for the Wagner Group to relocate to Belarus, and Lithuania has also moved to strengthen border security, the IAR news agency reported.

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

Thursday is day 491 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, interia.pl