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Suwałki Gap is safe thanks to Nato says Polish president

On Thursday, Duda and his Lithuanian counterpart Gitanas Nauseda visited a mobile command post of the Nato Multinational Division North East in the Polish village of Szypliszki on the gap.
Artur Reszko/PAP

Andrzej Duda, Poland’s president, has said that the Suwałki Gap, a strategic stretch of land near Russia’s westernmost region of Kaliningrad, is safe thanks to Polish, Lithuanian and Nato soldiers.

The Suwałki Gap is a sparsely-populated area straddling Poland’s border with Lithuania. Sandwiched between Belarus and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, it is regarded as a vulnerable point in Nato’s defences as an attack across it could cut off the Baltic States. According to the politico.eu website, “in a showdown between Russia and Nato,” the Suwałki Gap “would likely be the first point of contact.”

On Thursday, Duda and his Lithuanian counterpart Gitanas Nauseda visited a mobile command post of the Nato Multinational Division North East (MND-NE)in the Polish village of Szypliszki on the gap. The presidents were accompanied by defence ministers of the two countries Mariusz Błaszczak and Arvydas Anusauskas.

According to Polish president, Suwałki Gap, “a strategic, narrow strip of land that connects Lithuania with Poland, but also connects Lithuania and the Baltic states with other EU and Nato countries” is “extremely important” for the entire North Atlantic Alliance.

“We have decided to come here with the Lithuanian president… to show that it is safe here… precisely because of what you are watching with us today – the everyday, calm, but absolutely vigilant service of Polish, Lithuanian and Nato soldiers,” Duda said.

“This is where the soldiers of the North Atlantic Alliance are present as part of what we call the ‘Enhanced Forward Presence’ and now, after the Nato summit, we will call ‘Enhanced Forward Defence’.” Duda said.

He added that “these multinational battle groups, stationed here today, in the Polish part, and in the Lithuanian part, are the allied guarantee of the security of this region” and will be strengthened from the present 40,000-strong troops to 300,000 soldiers.


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