Poland has increased the number of troops protecting its border with Belarus as a deterrent against what it perceives as “destabilizing” actions by its pro-Russian neighbor, according to the country’s defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak. Blaszczak recently met with troops deployed near the Belarus border in Jarylowka, eastern Poland, emphasizing that the increased military presence is purely a defensive measure and not a hostile act, despite claims made by Minsk and Moscow. Blaszczak accused the Belarus regime of cooperating with the Kremlin and stated that the attacks on the Polish border were aimed at destabilizing Poland.
Last week, two Belarus military helicopters briefly entered Polish airspace, which Warsaw interpreted as a deliberate provocation. Additionally, a pro-government group in Belarus recently accused Poland’s politicians, who support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, of “igniting the fire of war with their actions and rhetoric” and being motivated by chauvinism. Blaszczak argued that Belarus’ actions posed a threat to Poland’s security and justified the country’s efforts to strengthen its deterrence potential.
Blaszczak announced that up to 10,000 Polish Army and Territorial Defense troops, in addition to the usual Border Guards, would be stationed on the border with Belarus. Some troops will engage in active training and patrolling, while others will be on standby. Poland’s ruling party, Law and Justice, is seeking an unprecedented third term in parliamentary elections and aims to demonstrate its commitment to national security amid intense campaigning. The government has been investing billions of dollars in military equipment and weapons, including from the United States and South Korea.
Moscow has repeatedly made baseless allegations that Poland intends to annex western regions of Ukraine. Analysts believe that Poland has become Russia’s collective enemy due to its support for Ukraine and its role in facilitating the transportation of western military equipment to Ukraine through its territory. Valery Karbalevich, an independent analyst from Belarus, suggests that the Kremlin aims to intimidate Poland to decrease its military support for Ukraine and silence Polish politicians, fearing provocations from Russia and Belarus.
Poland is also concerned about the presence of Russian-linked mercenaries in Belarus and the attempts of Middle Eastern and African migrants to cross into Poland illegally from Belarus. Poland, along with other NATO countries along the eastern flank, has accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of using migrants as part of “hybrid warfare” to create instability in the West.
In conclusion, Poland’s decision to increase troop presence on its border with Belarus is a response to what it perceives as destabilizing actions by its pro-Russian neighbor. While Poland emphasizes that this is a defensive measure, tensions between the two countries remain high, with accusations and counter-accusations being leveled against each other.