Monthly Incident Report: July 2023
Polish border guards have been reporting a significant increase in the movement of immigrants at the Belarusian border for several months now, but their peak is expected to happen during the time of ongoing NATO summit in Vilnius.
The Border Guard informs that since the beginning of the year “there have been nearly 15,200 illegal attempts to cross the border”, accompanied by “an escalation of aggressive behaviours by those attempting such acts’’. One of the reasons for this situation can be attributed to the recent change in the position of the Chairman of the State Border Committee of Belarus, which was assumed by Konstantin Molostov on May 30th. Molostov, who hails from Russia and has graduated from the Border Academy of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, is suspected of commanding numerous hybrid attacks, including those directed against Poland.
The involvement of Polish Special Forces in securing the NATO summit, as well as the joint exercises of Polish and Lithuanian special units in June called “Strong & United 2023,” could be perceived by the governments of Belarus and Russia as a provocation for retaliatory actions. In response, additional police forces have been deployed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs to protect the border. Concerns about security also stem from the transfer of Wagner Group mercenaries to Belarus, as their presence in Africa and the Middle East allows them to easily engage in the smuggling of immigrants into Europe.
Given the current situation, numerous provocations and an escalation of tension at the border are to be expected.