Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stated on Friday that he had directed for “communication” with Poland and expressed his willingness to engage in discussions as tensions escalate along the border between the NATO member and Moscow’s ally.
In the preceding week, Poland reported that two Belarusian helicopters violated its airspace and detained a Belarusian man suspected of being part of a “Russian spy ring.”
Relations between Minsk and Warsaw, which had been strained for years, deteriorated further when Lukashenko allowed Moscow to use Belarusian territory for attacks on Ukraine.
Tensions escalated as Minsk became a new operational base for Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, leading Poland to view this as a security threat and strengthen its border defenses.
Lukashenko’s uncommon statement emerged shortly after Warsaw announced its decision to deploy 10,000 troops to the border with Belarus.
“They have parliamentary elections on October 15, so they naturally need to escalate the situation… to demonstrate their well-armed stance,” Lukashenko commented.
Hosting the Wagner group, which experienced a failed mutiny in Russia, has raised concerns of “provocations” from the European Union, of which Poland is a member.
During a recent trip to Saint Petersburg, Lukashenko, sitting alongside Putin, humorously mentioned that Wagner fighters were “requesting to go West, asking for permission… to embark on a journey to Warsaw, to Rzeszow.”
Poland has become a refuge for numerous Belarusians who fled their homeland, which has been under Lukashenko’s rule since 1994.