Poland says it will send 500 police officers to strengthen border security with Belarus to deal with an increase in the number of migrants crossing as well as any potential threats once the Wagner group of mercenaries relocates to Belarus.
Poland Minister of Interior Mariusz Kaminski said the police force would join 5,000 border guards and 2,000 soldiers in securing the border.
Deputy Minister Coordinator of Special Services Stanislaw Zaryn said the bigger security presence was also in response to the transfer of Wagner group mercenaries to Belarus.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to offer troops from the private military company the choice of relocating to Belarus has led to fears among eastern NATO members that their presence will cause greater instability in the region.
Since 2021, Poland has accused Belarus of feigning a migrant crisis on the border by flying in people from the Middle East and Africa and attempting to push them across the border.
According to the Polish Border Guard, 187 persons attempted to enter Poland illegally from Belarus on Saturday, and the number has been slowly increasing in recent months, albeit it is still much below levels recorded in 2021.
A spokeswoman for Poland’s Border Guard said that Polish patrols at the border have also faced more aggressive behaviour in the past two months as the number of migrants rose.
“The groups are more aggressive. There have been many attacks on Polish patrols. Seventeen vehicles have been damaged this year, of which 13 in June alone,” Border Guard spokeswoman Anna Michalska said.