Warsaw Deploys Troops to Border After Alleged Airspace Violation

(RightWing.org) – Tensions are continuing to escalate in Europe after Poland moved troops to its eastern border. Warsaw says the move is in response to territorial violations by Belarus, which is allied with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. In turn, Belarus is accusing Poland of inventing the violations to justify its troop movements.

On August 1, the Polish Ministry of Defense announced that two Belarusian military helicopters — a Mi-8 HIP assault transport and a Mi-24 HIND attack helicopter — had crossed into its airspace without authorization. Warsaw says Belarus had warned Poland it was carrying out training exercises — but then the helicopters crossed the border at a low level, avoiding Polish radar.

Poland quickly notified NATO about the violation and has now responded by beefing up its border defenses. Its defense ministry says extra troops, including some of its own attack helicopters, have now been sent to the border to reinforce Poland’s defenses against any Belarusian incursion.

Belarus denies that its helicopters crossed the border, but Poland is viewing the country with suspicion. Belarus’s autocratic leader, Alexander Lukashenko, is Putin’s only real ally in Europe. When Russia invaded Ukraine last February, Lukashenko let Russian troops move through his country to advance into Ukraine from the north. He’s now hosting Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus. Could Lukashenko and Putin be probing the Polish border to pull NATO resources away from supporting Ukraine?

Another worry is that, following the aborted Wagner Group coup attempt against Putin in June, many of Wagner’s mercenaries are now in Belarus — and it’s unclear if their leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is still loyal to the Russian regime. Wagner troops in Belarus are deploying close to the Suwalki Gap, a narrow corridor joining Poland and Lithuania.

Now, the link between these two NATO members is flanked by Wagner on one side and Russian troops in the Kaliningrad enclave on the other. If this corridor is cut, NATO would struggle to defend the Baltic states against a Russian attack. It looks like Russia and its ally are trying to turn up the pressure on European nations that oppose Putin’s aggression. So far, Poland doesn’t seem to be intimidated.

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