Poland sends more troops to Belarusian border

Poland sends more troops to Belarusian border
Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced the decision to establish the Himars Academy and the Rocket Brigade in late July, days before Belarusian military helicopters violated the country’s airspace. / Polish defence ministry
By Linas Jegelevicius in Vilnius August 2, 2023

Amid the Wagner scare in Belarus, Poland will immediately dispatch additional troops to the Belarusian border after two military helicopters violated the country’s airspace. Meanwhile, Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said the country would not reveal the measures it takes at the border, LRT.lt, the website of Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT, reported on August 2.

The Belarusian helicopters that flew into Poland  on August 1 were patrolling the border during the visit of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to a nearby village, according to Belaruskij Gajun activists who monitor military movements in the country. This indicates that the airspace violation was accidental, Belaruskij Gajun said.

The Polish Defence Ministry said after the incident said that the charge d'affaires of Belarus would be summoned to the Polish foreign ministry to explain the circumstances of the incident.

The statement clarified that the helicopters crossed into Polish airspace at a very low altitude, making them difficult to detect. It said that is why an earlier statement from the Polish military said that the helicopters had not violated the Nato member's airspace.

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak convened a meeting of the Committee for National Security and Defence Affairs to discuss the matter and then ordered an increase in the number of soldiers on the border. He also allocated additional resources, including combat helicopters.

Meanwhile, Belarusian defence ministry said the accusations of airspace violations by two Belarusian military helicopters were fabricated. The ministry said on Telegram they were made up by the Polish military-political leadership “to justify another increase in forces and resources near the Belarusian border”.

The statement added that Nato had been notified about the incident, LRT.lt said.