Poland says Belarusian helicopters violated its airspace
August 2, 2023 11:45 AM
Poland said two Belarusian helicopters violated its airspace on Tuesday and announced it would ramp up military deployments on its eastern border in response.
"There was a violation of Polish airspace by two Belarusian helicopters that were training near the border," the Polish defence ministry said in a statement.
Earlier on Tuesday, Poland's army said the helicopters had not violated the NATO country's airspace, but it later backtracked in a subsequent statement.
"The violation took place in the Bialowieza area at a very low altitude, hampering the detection by radar systems," the ministry said.
It added that "NATO was notified about the incident".
It also said the defence minister ordered an increase in the number of soldiers at the Belarusian border, citing intensified "hybrid actions" by Russia and Belarus against Poland.
The Belarusian defence ministry said the violation claims were "made by the Polish military and political leadership to once again justify the build-up of forces and means near the Belarusian border".
Poland and its neighbours on NATO's eastern flank have voiced concerns about a potential threat from Belarus which now hosts the Wagner mercenary group.
On Saturday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said a group of "one hundred Wagner mercenaries" in Belarus had moved closer to the Polish border.