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Poland to increase number of soldiers on border with Belarus to 10,000

Maciej Kulczyński/PAP

The Polish Defence Ministry will increase the presence of troops on the Polish-Belarusian border to 10,000 soldiers, the defence minister announced on Thursday.

Mariusz Blaszczak told state-owned broadcaster Polish Radio that ultimately the number of soldiers near Poland’s border with Belarus would be similar to the number of soldiers stationed there in 2021.

“It will be about 10,000 soldiers,” he said. According to Blaszczak, 4,000 of them will support the Border Guard, and the remaining 6,000 will be on stand-by.

“These soldiers will improve their skills in the garrisons reinstated in the east of our country,” Blaszczak added.

There are already around 2,000 troops stationed on the border along with hundreds of police and Border Guard officers.

Increasing the number of troops on the border with Belarus is due to growing tensions in the area, first caused by a wave of migrants trying to cross into Poland from Belarus, and more recently by a spate of attacks with stones, bricks and other projectiles from the Belarusian side against Polish officers patrolling the area. Poland has also been concerned about the presence of the Russia-linked Wagner mercenaries in Belarus and a Polish airspace violation incident by Belarusian helicopters.

There are also mounting fears that the Belarusian authorities could try to push migrants across the frontier once again in a repeat of the 2021 migration crisis that saw hundreds of people trying to force their way into Poland. 

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