Poland Seeks to Deploy 10,000 Soldiers at its Border
Poland plans to station a total of 10,000 soldiers in the border region with neighbouring Belarus. About 4,000 soldiers would support the border guards, another 6,000 should form the reserve, Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told Polish public broadcaster. “It’s about deterring the aggressor, so he doesn’t dare to attack Poland.”
EU and NATO member Poland shares a 418-kilometre border with Belarus. According to earlier information, 2,000 soldiers have been deployed there for a long time in addition to the 5,000 Polish border guards. They should also get help from 500 police officers. Blaszczak said on Wednesday that Warsaw wanted to increase border guards with another 2,000 soldiers.
Like Lithuania, Poland is concerned about the activities of Russian Wagner mercenaries in Belarus and a growing number of migrants trying to enter the EU illegally via the neighbouring country.
In 2021, the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border escalated: thousands of people tried to enter the EU illegally. The EU accused the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of having brought migrants from crisis regions to the EU’s external border in an organised manner in order to put pressure on the West.
Now Poland fears renewed provocations since troops from Wagner’s private army, led by mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, set up camp in Belarus after a failed uprising against Moscow. According to the leadership in Minsk, the Wagner fighters are supposed to train the Belarusian army.
The nervousness also applies to the so-called Suwalki gap. This is what NATO calls a corridor on Polish and Lithuanian territory between Belarus and Kaliningrad. By capturing it, Russia could cut the Baltic states off from the rest of NATO. The corridor is named after the Polish town of Suwalki.