Poland sending more troops to border after airspace violation by Belarus

Poland sending more troops to border after airspace violation by Belarus

Poland is rushing troops to its border after saying combat helicopters from Belarus violated its airspace during military exercises.

Officials in Minsk denied the intrusion and claimed Poland is using the accusation as a pretext to justify a military build-up near the Belarusian border.

Poland has emerged as a strong supporter of Ukraine in its war against Russian occupiers, while Belarus is Moscow’s closest ally.

Military officials said the intrusion happened Tuesday near the town of Bialowieza, about 150 miles northeast of Warsaw.

“The Belarusian side had previously informed the Polish side about the training,” Poland’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

The Belarusian Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters allegedly crossed the border at a very low altitude, making the incursion difficult to detect by radar.

“The Polish radar systems did not record any violation of Polish airspace,” the Polish Defense Ministry said.

But people in the area recorded the intrusion and shared accounts on social media of what were clear examples of border violations, Polish officials said.

In a statement published by BelTA, the country’s state-owned news agency, Belarus ridiculed Poland’s claims, saying Warsaw changed the narrative “apparently after consulting with their overseas masters,” a clear reference to its NATO allies.

Warsaw notified NATO about the helicopter incursion and summoned officials from the Belarusian Embassy to explain the incident.

“Russia and Belarus have recently intensified hybrid activities against Poland,” defense officials said. “We call for responsible dissemination and commenting on information that may be used by the Russian and Belarusian regimes.”