UPDATE - Poland accuses Belarus of airspace violation, deploys more troops on border

UPDATE - Poland accuses Belarus of airspace violation, deploys more troops on border

Warsaw's accusations are 'far-fetched,' responds Belarusian Defense Ministry

UPDATES WITH DEPLOYING MORE TROOPS; REVISES HEADLINE, LEDE

By Aysu Bicer and Burak Bir

LONDON (AA) – Poland increased the number of soldiers on its border with Belarus after accusing Minsk of airspace violation, Polish news agency PAP reported on Tuesday, citing the Foreign Ministry.

According to reports, helicopters were spotted flying over the Bialowieza area near the Polish-Belarusian border, prompting the Polish Foreign Ministry to issue a strong protest.

"Due to the violation of the airspace of the Republic of Poland by two Belarusian helicopters on August 1, 2023, the Charge d'affaires of the Embassy of Belarus was urgently summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland," the ministry said in a statement.

Poland called on the Belarusian side to explain the incident immediately and in detail, according to the statement.

"The Polish side emphasized that the incident is perceived as another element of the escalation of tension on the Polish-Belarusian border. Poland expects Belarus to refrain from this type of activity," it added.

The Belarusian Defense Ministry, however, denied Poland’s claims in a statement, saying that Warsaw's accusations are “far-fetched” and were made to “justify the build-up of its forces and means near the Belarusian border."

Following the developments, Poland decided to boost troops on the Belarusian border while Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak convened a meeting of the Committee for National Security and Defense Affairs.

The report added that Blaszczak ordered the number of soldiers to be increased and the allocation of additional resources, including combat helicopters.

Meanwhile, NATO was informed about the incident, according to the statement.



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