Poland will send an additional 2,000 troops to reinforce its eastern border with neighbouring Belarus, a deputy interior minister said Wednesday, as a record number of migrants try to cross.
“This will not be a reinforcement of 1,000 but of 2,000 soldiers,” Maciej Wasik told the PAP state news agency, adding that the move was approved by the defence minister following a request from the national border agency for extra manpower.
The troops are slated to be deployed within two weeks and will join the 2,000 soldiers already stationed near the border.
Poland has recently warned of the threat of provocations from Belarus and potential dangers posed by the Wagner mercenary group based there.
Warsaw has also accused Belarus and Russia of orchestrating a new migration influx into the European Union in order to destabilise the region.
Wasik on Wednesday added that all attempts of illegal crossings into Poland through that route are staged by the Belarusian services.
“If on the other side we had real border guards, and not smuggling officers, these crossings wouldn’t exist at all,” Wasik said.
According to the Polish border guard, 19,000 migrants have tried to enter Poland from Belarus so far this year, compared to 16,000 during all of 2022.
Last month alone, more than 4,000 migrants tried to cross the border.