A Russian politician has warned “everything will end badly” for Poland as tensions rise over its Belarusian border.
Andrey Gurulyov, a member of the Russian State Duma and ex-military chief, made the stark warning in response to fears about Poland putting troops near the Russian exclave Kaliningrad.
The politician also made a barmy claim without any evidence that Poland is seeking to seize control of parts of Ukraine.
Tensions have been soaring between Poland and Russia over the presence of the Wagner Group on the Belarus-Poland border. In recent weeks, Poland has raised concerns that the paramilitary group, exiled from Russia in June following a failed coup attempt, could invade as part of attempts to seize the Suwalki gap.
The Suwalki gap, which is a small stretch of NATO territory separating NATO and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, is deemed to be strategically critical. Taking over the corridor would mean Wagner Group would isolate the Baltic States from the rest of Europe and allow Moscow to exert greater influence over these countries.
Gurulyov, talking on state TV, was encouraging Putin to take a hardline stance against Poland if it moves its troops near Kaliningrad, despite the country showing no interest in taking the region so far.
He said: “The second topic is the defence of Kaliningrad as an exclave.
“The message is very clear: ‘Guys, if God forbid you go anywhere in the direction of our Kaliningrad region, everything will end badly for you. This is probably the way it should be.”
Polish troops so far have stayed away from Kaliningrad although it has moved thousands of soldiers close to the Belarusian border to stop potential Wagner Group attacks.
Gurulyov claimed, as several Russian officials have done, that Poland has clear goals to seize Western Ukraine – although this has never been proven to be accurate.
Gurulyov said: “This is the minimum task. And the ultimate goal is to enter Ukraine and make it their vassal. We must deter this. And it’s pretty easy to do. The main point is the question of strategic deterrence. We are doing this by deploying nuclear capabilities in our allied, fraternal Belarus. This is precisely the issue of strategic deterrence so that the Poles would have no thought of going anywhere.”
In reality, Poland remains a key ally in Ukraine’s defence against Russia’s illegal invasion and in recent days even pledged to send fighter jets. It has promised four MiG-29 fighter jets, inherited from the former German Democratic Republic.