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WWIII Watch: Poland to Deploy 10,000 to Border As Tensions Mount

Poland’s defence minister says the country is going to considerably grow its deployment to its eastern border, where NATO meets Moscow satellite state Belarus, with 10,000 troops to be stationed.

Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Thursday Poland was making a bigger deployment of men to its border, which he said would amount to 10,000 in all: 4,000 actually at the border supporting the Border Guard and a further 6,000 in the second line. The purpose of moving more men closer to the frontier was, Blaszczak said per Reuter’s report: “We move the army closer to the border with Belarus to scare away the aggressor so that it does not dare to attack us”.

The announcement came after an announcement by the Polish government on Wednesday that it was sending up another 2,000 troops to the border.

While tensions rose over Russia’s re-invasion of Ukraine last year and a period of intensive asymmetric warfare against Poland and the European Union by Belarus at the border the year before that, in fact the recent deployments have been in response to Russia’s mutinous Wagner mercenaries being exiled to Belarus this year. This move has been followed by a series of Belarussian military training exercises coming right up to the Polish border, including an incident where two military helicopters are said to have crossed into Polish, and therefore NATO airspace.

One of the responses to that incursion was Poland sending more of its own combat helicopters to the border. This has come with consequences of its own, with Poland announcing that a detonator from one of the helicopter-carried missiles appeared to have fallen off during a “combat flight” patrol. Poland says it is searching for the detonator, but insists there is no risk to the public and the helicopter did not overfly built-up areas, reports the Associated Press.

Belarus has taunted Poland over the presence of the battle-hardened Wagner mercenaries in the country, with President Lukashenko making pretence he was having to hold them back from invading Poland on their own initiative. In July, Berlarus’s president said the killers for hire wanted to “go on tour” to Warsaw.

Minsk has denied any wrongdoing and insists it is Poland, Latvia, and NATO who are cranking up the tension in the region. Russian state media cites the comments of Belarussian commission deputy chair Tengiz Dumbadze who said yesterday: “Latvia and Poland are bringing themselves to the abyss we are seeing a build-up of forces along our borders, which is particularly evident in Poland, whose rapid reaction brigades are already 40 kilometers from the border. This shows that [Warsaw] is not adopting a defensive posture but rather is pursuing an offensive stance.”

Belarus insisted it represented no “threat to anyone”, a position clearly at odds with the feeling of some. Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last week: “Russia and Belarus are increasing the pressure on the borders, increasing the number of their provocations, and we must be aware that the number of these provocations will grow”.

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