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Poland to Deploy 17,000 Troops to Guard Eastern Border

© AP Photo / Czarek SokolowskiA soldier stands guard by a metal barrier in Bialowieza Forest, eastern Poland, on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
A soldier stands guard by a metal barrier in Bialowieza Forest, eastern Poland, on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.07.2024
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Polish army will increase the number of military personnel to guard its eastern border to 17,000, with 9,000 in a rapid border reaction force, Deputy Defense Minister Pawel Bejda said on Wednesday.
"If anything happens at the border, these 9,000 soldiers will reach the border together with their ammunition and weapons within 48 hours," Bejda told a press conference in Warsaw dedicated to the East Shield national defense and deterrence plan.
Currently, there are almost 6,000 Polish military personnel deployed at the border, and ultimately there will be 8,000 soldiers directly guarding the Polish border, he added.
The East Shield deterrence plan entails an investment of over 2 billion euros ($2.17 billion) in reinforcing Poland's eastern border with Russia and Belarus. Its realization is expected in 2024-2028. Poland, along with other NATO countries, increased military training of its troops after Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. The alliance started reinforcing its eastern flank by sending additional ships, planes, helicopters and ground troops to the region and putting them on high alert.
Polish soldiers build a concertina fence on the Polish-Russian border in Kaliningrad Oblast region, Zerdziny, north-eastern Poland, on November 3, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.05.2024
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Moreover, Poland has been continuously taking measures to reinforce its eastern border following the migrant crisis that unfolded in 2021. Tens of thousands of irregular migrants from the Middle East and Africa crowded on Belarus' side of the border, aiming to cross into the European Union via Poland, as well as neighboring Latvia and Lithuania. Polish authorities tightened border controls, deployed troops, and accused Belarus of orchestrating the migrant crisis. Minsk rejected the accusation, saying Warsaw was abusing the migrant crisis narrative to aggressively push migrants into Belarusian territory.
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