‘A soldier does not carry a weapon to be a puppet’ – Polish soldiers outraged over prosecutions from the Tusk government

A Polish territorial army soldier who is also a journalist has issued a dramatic appeal online regarding the soldiers detained over firing shots into the air to deter illegal migrants from forcing their way across the border with Belarus

A soldier stands guard by a metal barrier, in Bialowieza Forest, eastern Poland, on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The Polish military police detained and handcuffed soldiers who fired into the air to stop dozens of illegal migrants armed with weapons and projectiles from crossing the border between Poland and Belarus. The arrested soldiers have now been released but have been charged with unauthorized use of firearms and endangering the lives of the illegal migrants. 

Robert Wyrostkiewicz, a journalist and territorial army (WOT) soldier, has published a video on social media, which he admits is illegal since he was not authorized to make it.

“So be it. Ordinary soldiers were held in handcuffs by military police because they dared to fire into the air to deter 50 illegal migrants. Soldiers are not issued with firearms for nothing, they are there to help them guard our borders and stand their ground,” he said, adding: “A soldier does not carry a weapon to be a puppet.”

He added that he hoped the recording would reach the defense minister, who “should honor those lads with a medal and shake their hands. I am proud of them.” 

A political fight has ensued about who knew what concerning this case, which took place over two months ago. The ruling left-liberal majority is attempting to blame the prosecutor who was appointed during the lifetime of the previous conservative (PiS) government, while the latter has declared that he was not aware of the incident.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk has summoned both the defense and justice ministers to meet him on Friday, and President Andrzej Duda has called a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the crisis on the border.

That crisis deepened still further when it was announced on Thursday that the soldier who had been stabbed by an illegal migrant during an attempt at illegal entry into Poland died from his wounds. The military authorities have secured counseling support for the soldier’s family and issued a statement expressing thanks to the soldier for fulfilling his oath of service and calling him their brother. 

PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński on Thursday expressed his concern that unless the Polish army was given adequate support on the border, the frontier with Belarus will not be secure. He insisted that soldiers must know that they can use all means necessary, including firearms, to fulfill their mission. 

Unless that is the case, the Belarusians and Russians will be convinced that the Polish government will relent and that pressure on the border pays, he argued. Kaczyński also accused the government of causing chaos “intentionally.”

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