Border tensions escalate after Belarusian helicopters violate Polish airspace

A Belarusian Army military helicopter flies over a field during the Union Courage-2022 Russia-Belarus military drills Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

The Polish Ministry of National Defense reported that on Tuesday morning, Polish airspace was violated by two Belarusian helicopters that were conducting training near the border.

In response, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of Belarus.

Earlier, the representatives of the army reported that no violation was recorded. However, after analyzing the situation, it was determined that the Belarusian helicopters had encroached on Polish territory. These findings were reported during the proceedings of the Committee for National Security and Defense, convened by Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.

“The crossing of the border took place in the Białowieża region at a very low altitude which made detection by radar systems difficult,” read a statement from the Polish defense ministry.

“Therefore, in the morning report, the Operational Command of the Armed Forces informed that the Polish radar systems had not recorded a violation of Polish airspace,” it added.

The Belarusian side had previously informed the Polish side about the training.

In response to the incident, Minister Błaszczak ordered an increase in the number of soldiers on the border and the allocation of additional forces and resources, including combat helicopters. NATO was informed about the incident.

Poland’s foreign ministry urgently summoned the chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of Belarus.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs communicated a decisive protest and called on the Belarusian side for an immediate, detailed explanation of the incident. The Polish side emphasized that the incident is perceived as another element of escalating tension on the Polish-Belarusian border. Poland expects Belarus to refrain from such activities,” the ministry said in a statement.

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