Poland Makes Ready After Belarus Violates Airspace

Tensions are rising in eastern Europe, as there is a threat that the war between Ukraine and Russia could start spilling out to surrounding countries.

This week, Poland accused neighboring Belarus – a close ally of Russia – of flying two helicopters into its airspace. The country said Belarus was escalating tensions, with Poland responding by sending more of its own troops and even some helicopters to patrol the border.

On Monday, the Polish Ministry of Defence said that two helicopters from Belarus flew into airspace over Poland. A statement released by the ministry said the aircraft flew at a very low altitude, below radar, which made them “difficult to detect.”

Reports said that people saw the helicopters – which were donned in the colors of the Belarus flag – flying very low over their homes, and they posted many of those images to various social media sites.

According to Belarus, the two helicopters were flying as part of a training mission that the government in Belarus said they told Poland about in advance. Even so, the Polish government said the fact that the helicopters went into their airspace was not acceptable, and they called in the ambassador from Belarus as a result.

Mariusz Blaszczak, who is the defence minister in Poland, said he ordered that “combat helicopters” and extra military troops head to the border to respond to the Belarusian government’s provocation.

Belarus, though, said that an incursion didn’t take place. A local media outlet said the claims from Poland are “far-fetched” and that the country just invented the whole incident as a pretext for why they were building up their own military presence at the border.

The defence ministry in Belarus went even further, saying Poland couldn’t provide any evidence that the helicopters even had flown into their airspace at such low altitude. They even accused Poland of acting on orders from “overseas masters” – referring to the United States.

It’s hard to believe what Belarus is saying here, though, especially after a veiled threat the country made about potentially invading Poland. The country said recently that mercenaries from the Wagner Group – which is aligned with Russia – who recently relocated to Belarus after they were expelled from Russia wanted to take a holiday to Warsaw in Poland. 

This was an allusion to the potential invasion of Poland by Wagner, which would be acting at the behest of either Belarus, Russia or a combination of both.

For the last few years, Poland has been increasing its defenses along the Belarus border, based on what it has been calling “asymmetric warfare play” that Belarus has engaged in.

Poland has accused Belarus of attempting to destabilize Europe by sending migrants all over the continent. It has said in the past that Belarus has flown refugees from their home countries over to Minsk, and then busing them to various countries throughout Europe.

Poland constructed a border fence in the western part of its country as a way to stop these migrants from coming in. But, many have claimed that the migrants have been given wire cutters by Belarussian government soldiers so they could still get through.