Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński said “the threat is very real” from Belarus, arguing that Wagner Group soldiers have made attempts to infiltrate Polish territory.
"We are stating very clearly that we will not back down. Obviously there will be attempts. We are expecting more attempts on attacks on our border, perhaps more attempts on also violating our airspace," Jabłoński told CNN's Isa Soares, adding that "they will be trying to demonstrate they can do whatever they want."
“We are getting more and more troops deployed to this region so that we can be resilient,” Jabłoński said. He did not expand on how many troops are being deployed.
Soares also asked Jabłoński whether Poland would weigh closing its border with Belarus.
“We are considering any steps that will be necessary to protect our territory, protect our citizens, including the full isolation of Belarus, including full closure of the border,” he said.
“We would like to avoid this because it is a step of last resort to some extent. But, if there will be continued attacks, continued attempts of destabilizing our country, we might have no other option,” Jabłoński added.
Some background: The Polish defense ministry said Tuesday the country will increase the number of soldiers along its eastern border after two Belarusian helicopters allegedly violated Polish airspace, which the Belarusian defense ministry denied.
It comes amid increased activity near a thin strip of land between Poland and Lithuania, known as the Suwalki gap or corridor, which troops from the Russian mercenary group Wagner are moving toward in an apparent attempt to increase pressure on NATO and EU members.
Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko brokered a deal to cap Wagner’s failed rebellion against Moscow, after which thousands of mercenary fighters were reportedly sent to Belarus.