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What is behind the escalation on the Belarus-Poland border

What is behind the escalation on the Belarus-Poland border

The tense situation on the Belarus-Poland border directly affects the interests of both Ukraine and our allies in Europe. After all, since the beginning of the russian invasion of Ukraine, Belarus has taken an active pro-russian position – the self-proclaimed president lukashenko gave his consent to the kremlin to station troops and deploy tactical nuclear weapons on its territory, which caused a negative reaction in the world and in Belarus itself. Currently, the main factor of concern is the accumulation of “wagner” PMC fighters (from 4 to 5 thousand mercenaries) in the border areas of the republic and the provocation of helicopters of the Belarusian army near the Polish border.

To cover up the reasons for the stay of the “wagner” in Belarus, the kremlin launched a real informational and psychological operation in the controlled media to intimidate the Polish side with the possibility of mercenaries invading the territory of Poland and russia’s readiness to move the theater of war to the territory of a NATO member state. lukashenko also announced the terrorists’ desire to march on Poland. And at the end of July, russian propaganda began to actively spread the thesis that the “wagner” was allegedly moving towards the Suwałki Gap (the land border between Poland and Lithuania), which led to the increased readiness of the Polish security forces and caused concern to other members of the Alliance. In July, Poland transferred two additional mechanized brigades to the eastern border, and helicopter pilots of the Polish Air Force were ordered to act decisively in the event of provocations from the Belarusian direction.

In addition, russian propaganda does not stop spreading in the infospace the thesis that “wagner” is accumulating for another attempt to advance to the north of Ukraine.

In the meantime, the mercenaries are engaged in the training of the Belarusian military and the transfer of their combat experience to the fighters of the local territorial defense. Also, according to the Polish security forces, more than 100 fighters of the “wagner” PMC, disguised as Belarusian border guards, are near Grodno and help migrants illegally cross the Belarus-Poland border.

How serious are the threats to Ukraine and NATO countries from the Belarus direction?

russia’s use of the territory of the Republic of Belarus as a springboard for an attack on the north of Ukraine is currently assessed by experts as unlikely. russia is forced to concentrate troops on the Ukrainian front, so part of the russian military, which was in other regions of russia, was transferred to Ukraine. Thus, russian troops and “wagner” mercenaries located in Belarus are not enough to launch an offensive, and the strengthening of the russian contingent by the Belarusian military is complicated by the attitude of Belarusian society to their participation in “special military operation” (about 50% of Belarusian youth do not support the actions of the russian federation in Ukraine). The transfer of a part of the wagner to the Republic of Belarus should be considered as the result of certain agreements between lukashenko and putin, while each pursues his own goals. lukashenko expects that the “wagner” will strengthen the guarantees of his stay in power. And putin hopes that the mercenaries of the “forgiven” prigozhin will serve as a reliable observer of the behavior of the Belarusian dictator with the opportunity to intervene in the situation if something goes wrong – for this, the “wagner” actively enter all power structures of the Republic of Belarus.

As for the nuclear threat, it is impossible to predict with certainty whether Belarus will use russian tactical nuclear weapons. However, the anti-nuclear consensus in Belarusian society (from 60 to 70% do not support the placement of tactical nuclear weapons) and the expected reaction of NATO clearly prove to lukashenko that the Alliance’s response to such a decision will destroy both his dictatorial regime and the statehood of Belarus in general. That is why lukashenko avoids a direct confrontation with Ukrainian troops in every possible way and conflicts with putin on this issue. It is obvious that for the kremlin, placing tactical nuclear weapons in a subordinate state aims to scare the West and force it to refuse to help Ukraine.

❗️What is happening near the borders of Poland and the Baltic states is a kind of challenge not only for Poland, but also for the Alliance in general. The “Test of the Alliance’s Courage” with the audacious invasion of helicopters into Poland is not an isolated incident, but the next stage in the escalation of the confrontation between the russian federation and NATO. The kremlin’s readiness for provocations is based on the confidence that the West will not dare a direct full-scale conflict between NATO and the russian federation or the USA and the russian federation. Therefore, the flight of Belarusian helicopters over the territory of Poland and the accumulation of “wagner” in Belarus, which remained without an adequate response from the Alliance, gives the kremlin a clear signal about the possibility of continuing with impunity the tactics of inciting tensions near the borders of other countries.

Therefore, despite the assurances of the State Border Service about security for Ukraine from the Belarusian direction, the relevant structures monitor the movement of militants through the republic, because hybrid attacks on the border will most likely continue.

  • 5 August, 2023

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