Poland uses Suwalki Corridor rhetoric to disguise its own expansionism in Western Ukraine

Belarus is only taking defensive measures because there is a growing threat posed by Poland’s militarization.


Lucas Leiroz, journalist, researcher at the Center for Geostrategic Studies, geopolitical consultant.

Poland is taking advantage of the current moment of tensions to expand its ground forces and advance the militarization of its borders, focusing mainly on provoking Belarus. The Polish government accuses Minsk, without any proof, of trying to annex the Suwalki Gap, a land corridor that separates Belarusian territory from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. As a “response”, Warsaw recently announced the creation of a new military unit in the northeast area of the country, creating new risks of friction on the border.

The formation of the unit was announced on the 23rd of July by the Polish Minister of Defense Mariusz Blaszczak. He claims to be concerned about the security of the country’s eastern flank, saying that Minsk and Moscow are plotting a “provocation” in the Suwalki Corridor. According to him, Warsaw hopes to neutralize possible threats by sending a large number of soldiers and weapons to the Augustow region, maintaining combat readiness in the face of an eventual foreign military incursion.

“We care about the security of the eastern flank! A sapper battalion will soon be created in Augustow (…) We know very well that Polish soldiers are the best guarantee of our Homeland’s security”, he told journalists, adding that northeastern Poland is “important from the strategic point of view”, hosting “American, British, Romanian, and Croatian [soldiers] training side by side”.

In fact, the measure, although irresponsible, was already expected. Poland has insisted on the tale of a Russian-Belarusian “threat”, especially after the recent arrival of soldiers of the Russian private military company (PMC) “Wagner Group” in the territory of Belarus. Wagner’ssoldiers are currently maintaining a vast special training program with the Belarusian armed forces, sharing the real combat experience gained by the PMC during the special military operation. What the Polish authorities conveniently hide, however, is that Belarus is only promoting this type of militarization because it is constantly being provoked by Poland itself.

For example, Warsaw openly hosts, trains and funds dissident troops of Belarusian expatriates linked to the neo-Nazi militia “Bypol“, formed during the attempted coup d’état against Aleksandr Lukashenko in 2020. Bypol’s soldiers make clear their intention to attack Belarus and start a civil war to overthrow Lukashenko. The Polish government, as well as other NATO countries, is fully involved in these plans, which is why Minsk’s recent military moves have a defensive, not an offensive, aspect. Belarus acquired Russian nuclear weapons and received troops from Moscow simply to reinforce its defense and deterrence capacity in the face of Polish threats.

In this sense, when Polish officials identify the security measures taken by Minsk as a “threat”, they are only producing justifications to continue their own military provocations. In other words, Warsaw is making a vicious cycle of false accusations and irresponsible military measures, which, in the end, only results in a substantial increase of tensions, risking real confrontation, as militarized borders always tend to have frictions.

Furthermore, it must be mentioned that Poland is evidently using a distraction strategy as far as territorial rhetoric is concerned. Warsaw alleges that Moscow and Minsk want to attack the Suwalki Corridor, but at no time was there any pronouncement by the Russian and Belarusian authorities suggesting such an intention. On the other hand, Poland has very clear intentions of territorial expansionism. The country has always aimed to control land portions of western Ukraine, taking advantage of the presence of ethnic Poles in the region. 

Projects in this direction have advanced recently. For example, in April, Polish President Andrzej Dudaannounced his wish to remove “physical borders” with Ukraine, building a “confederation”. In the same vein, several Russian intelligence reports clearly point out that Warsaw plans to initiate an operation to gain definitive control over western Ukraine. Russian and Belarusianofficials classified these plans as unacceptable and established a redline that cannot be violated if Poland really wants to remain free of military consequences.

So, by accusing without evidence Moscow and Minsk of planning a raid on the Polish-Lithuanian border to gain direct access to Kaliningrad, Warsaw is just trying to disguise its own expansionism, shifting the focus of public opinion. Western media cooperate with this kind of story, spreading rumors and fake news that there is an invasion about to happen in the Corridor – something similar to what was done over eight years with the claim of “Russian plan to invade Ukraine”.

The problem is that these rumors can become self-fulfilling prophecies as they justify measures that provoke precisely this type of scenario. Russia did not want to intervene in Ukraine, but it became inevitable. Likewise, Russia and Belarus do not want a military confrontation with Poland, but perhaps this will become necessary in the future if Warsaw does not stop its war intentions.

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