An additional 2,000 troops will be sent to the Poland-Belarus border amid a recent influx of illegal immigrants, Polish Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wasik said.
The Polish border guard requested 1,000 troops earlier this week as reinforcements to the 2,000 soldiers already deployed at the border.
Wasik told the Polish Press Agency (PAP) on Wednesday that the troops are expected at the border within the next two weeks.
He also said the situation puts a strain on Poland’s relations with Belarus. “If there were real border guards on the other side, instead of smuggling services, these crossings would not happen at all,” he told the PAP.
Belarus started military exercises near the border this week, and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has said several times that he is restraining Wagner fighters who want to attack Poland.
Poland has also seen an increase in the number of mainly West Asian and African migrants trying to cross the border in recent months. For the past two years, it has accused Belarus of recruiting migrants in poor countries and sending them across the border illegally to foment instability.
“This reinforcement will be not by 1,000, but by 2,000 soldiers,” Maciej Wasik told PAP. “This decision was made by the Security Committee, this decision was made by (Defence) Minister Mariusz Blaszczak”
On Monday Wasik said that the Border Guard was requesting an additional 1,000 soldiers be deployed.
Wasik claimed that all attempts to illegally enter Poland by migrants were now being organized by Belarusian authorities.
“If we had real border guards on the other side, and not smuggling services, these crossings would not exist at all,” he said.