Polish FM: Russia increasing military presence in Belarus

Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau and Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets.
Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau and Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Poland believes Russia is increasing its military presence in Belarus and will also do so in the future, Polish foreign minister Zbigniew Rau said during a visit to Tallinn on Monday.

At a press conference between Rau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) the pair discussed the tensions between Russia and Ukraine. ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" asked Rau if Russian troops were gathering in Belarus close to the Polish border.

"We are aware of the planned exercises of Belarus and Russian troops in February despite the fact that they were not announced properly before. We are even observing some tendencies that tend to indicate that we will face a Russian military build-up in Belarus in the future," Rau said.

The minister emphasized that Poland is aware of the growing number of Russian troops in Belarus and confirmed that in the worst-case scenario, Poland would be able to cope with potential refugees.

"We have more than one million Ukrainians living and working in Poland. Decades ago we were hosting many refugees from Chechnya in Poland," said Rau.

AK asked Liimets about complying with the rules of the European Union, as Poland has a differing view and has been criticized by the EU.

"Of course, I asked how the situation is going with regard to different views between the commission and Poland, and as I said, I hope these kinds of issues are solved via dialogue between the member states and the commission," Liimets replied.

Discussing the European Union's sanctions on Belarus, Rau said the member states should openly discuss the means that can be used to help Belarus move towards democracy. 


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Editor: Helen Wright

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