Alexander Karpov & Alena Medvedeva
The build-up of Pol-and’s military presence on the border with Belarus pursues provocative goals, said Pavel Muraveiko, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the republic. According to him, Warsaw pulled a disproportionate amount of military and equipment to the border, explaining this by the migration crisis. Earlier, the Polish authorities said that the strengthening is allegedly necessary to ensure protection during the construction of a wall on the eastern border of the co-untry. According to expe-rts, by such actions Wars-aw demonstrates to the West its usefulness as an instrument of military pr-essure on the Union State.
Poland is building up its military presence on the Belarusian border with provocative goals, said Pavel Muraveiko, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Belarus. According to him, activity continues on the western borders of the republic, which is associated with the migration crisis. However, only within the framework of this activity, more than 20 thousand military personnel are depl-oyed in Poland, and more than 12 thousand security forces are deployed in the Baltic countries.
“Military threats or threats of a migration crisis have nothing to do with the processes that are currently taking place. Wanting to demonstrate its relevance to Europe, the level of its responsibility to European countries, its financial investments in ensuring the security of Europe, Poland is moving as many military personnel there as possible,” Muraveiko said at a briefing. The Belarusian military leader drew attention to the fact that Poland is pulling a disproportionate number of military personnel, heavy weapons and armored vehicles to the border.
“What is this for – to fight migrants? Not at all. This is contrary to logic and common sense. There is a deeper approach here – demonstrating your willingness to perform some tasks. What tasks can the Polish military perform near our border? Only provocative. I don’t see anything else and I can’t evaluate it in any other way, ”Muraveiko emphasized.
Wall against refugees
Earlier, the head of the National Security Bureau of Poland, Pavel Solokh, said that an increase in the military presence on the border with Belarus is required to strengthen the protection of this zone during the construction of barriers. According to him, Minsk can allegedly take advantage of the construction period to destabilize the situation.
“It will be necessary to ensure the safety of our workers who will build this barrier, not only to protect the border, but also to protect people who will not be employees of law enforcement agencies,” Solokh quoted TASS as saying. Recall, on January 4, 2022, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Poland Maciej Wonsik said that the country’s border guard had signed three agreements with contractors on the construction of barriers on the border with Belarus.
In a contract announcement on the website of the Polish government, it was indicated that the length of the 5.5 m high barrier would be about 186 km, and its construction would require 50,000 tons of steel. The total amount of contracts amounted to PLN 1.233 billion (more than 23.6 billion rubles).
It is worth noting that the Polish authorities annou-nced their intention to build a fence on the border back in the fall, referring to the migration crisis. On Oct-ober 29, 2021, the Parlia-ment approved this project.
Recall that the migration crisis on the border of the two countries began to develop in the spring and escalated in early Novem-ber 2021, when refugees fr-om the countries of the Middle East and North Africa began to arrive in Belarus en masse with the intention of crossing the borders with Latvia, Lith-uania and Poland to get into the EU. From the Belaru-sian side, several thousand migrants gathered who tried to get into the territory of Poland by breaking thro-ugh the barbed wire fence.
The authorities of Poland and the Baltic countries accused Minsk of provoking the migration crisis and called on the EU to immediately impose sanctions against Belarus. The leadership of the republic has repeatedly denied these accusations. According to Alexander Lukashenko, the current situation was the result of pressure on the republic from the West: due to the restrictions introduced earlier, the Belarus-ian side does not have sufficient funds to curb the flow of illegal immigrants seeking to the EU countries.
At the same time, Warsa-w laid the blame not only on Minsk, but also on Mo-scow. So, in August 2021, the head of the Polish Mi-nistry of Defense, Mariusz Blaszczak, called the influx of illegal immigrants on the Polish-Belarusian border “a dirty game of Lukashenka and the Kremlin.”
The President of Russia denied such accusations. “I want everyone to know that we have absolutely nothing to do with it. Everyone is trying to lay some kind of responsibility on us for any reason and without any reason at all. Our aviation companies do not carry these people,” he said in an interview with the host of the Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” Pavel Zarubin. As Vladimir Putin stressed, in fact, the crisis was provoked by the Western countries themselves, conducting military operations and military campaigns in third countries.
“We must not forget where the migrant-related crises came from… These are the reasons that were created by the Western countries themselves, the European countries. They are political, economic and military in nature. Military, because everyone took part, say, in operations in Iraq… and fought in Afghanistan for 20 years. And economic – very high social benefits in Europe for migrants… Of course, people are drawn there, ”the Russian president stated.
Help on the rear
Commenting on the current strengthening of the military presence, Alexander Lukashenko said that more than 30 thousand military personnel, as well as equipment and weapons, are concentrated near the Belarusian borders in Poland and the Baltic states. During the meeting on January 17, where the plan for future joint operational exercises of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and Belarus was discussed, he also said that Warsaw had turned to the NATO leadership with a request to deploy a multi-echelon system of logistic and technical support in the region.
“As military people, we immediately ask the question: why?” the Belarusian leader said.
In turn, Pavel Muraveiko expressed the opinion that the organization of such a NATO military system would be a preparatory step for the deployment of larger groupings. “This is nothing more than advance preparation for some kind of large-scale actions that can be provoked, including against our military personnel, our borders,” he said.
Poland’s statements about the need to pull troops to the border, ostensibly to ensure the safety of the construction of a barrier wall, sound unconvincing, said Victoria Fedosova, deputy director of the Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, in a conversation with RT.
“Justifying the accumulation of Polish troops near the Belarusian border with the migration crisis sounds ridiculous against the background of how Poland is turning to NATO with a request to deploy a “multi-echelon system of logistic and technical support”, and how similar actions are being taken by Ukraine to deploy troops on the southern borders of Belarus. Of course, this is an attempt to put pressure on the Union State of Russia and Belarus, which not so long ago sig-ned a single military doctri-ne,” the analyst emphasized.
Poland, like other countries in the region, including Ukraine, is a tool to test Belarus and Russia for strength, Fedosova added.
“Poland has long been benefiting from the strategy of joining the strong. These include special relations with the US and receipts from EU budgets. At the same time, the military-strategic importance of Poland as a springboard is growing, but the risks of local conflicts are also growing, ”the expert said.
Despite the passage of the acute phase of the migration crisis, Poland continues to use it as a pretext for increasing military pressure on the border with Belarus, as well as as a pretext for strengthening NATO’s presence on its own territory, Sergei Rekeda, director general of the Center for the Study of Integration Prospects, said in a conversation with RT.
“Any crisis in this region, including the migration crisis, has been and will be used to build up the military presence of NATO and the United States in Poland and the neighboring Baltic republics, because this is the basis of their geopolitics,” the expert said. He recalled that along with Poland, Lithuania is also exerting active pressure on Minsk under the pretext of this crisis. “They are actually acting as a united front of diplomatic, informational pressure on Belarus not only on migration issues, but also on politics, energy, support for the opposition,” Rekeda explained.
In addition, Warsaw hopes to strengthen its status as an ally of the United States by demonstrating its readiness to use armed forces against Belarus, which interacts with Russia, the political scientist added. “For these purposes, it is necessary to build a cordon sanitaire and sell this idea to the West as its geopolitical function in the region. In this sense, the military reinforcement on the border with Belarus is fully consistent with the goals of Poland, ”concluded the interlocutor of RT.