July 15. 2024. 7:53

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Poland pays tribute to soldier killed in border attack


Sirens blared across Poland during the funeral of a soldier who died last week after being stabbed by a migrant at the border with Belarus – serving as another example of hybrid activities taking place all across NATO, according to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Involved in a clash with migrants attempting to cross Poland’s border on 28 May, the soldier was stabbed in the chest through the border barrier.

He was first treated in the nearby town of Hajnówka and then transferred to the Military Medical Institute in Warsaw’s Szaserów Street.

“Despite the help provided after the bandit attack on the Belarussian border, the medics’ efforts, his life could not be saved,” the General Command of the Armed Forces said in a statement posted on social media last Thursday (6 June).

The soldier, Mateusz, has been officially identified only by his first name. His family have been informed and offered support.

The soldier was buried on Tuesday. Sirens wailed at noon in the whole country “as a tribute to Mateusz and a gesture of solidarity of all uniformed services taking care of the security of the Polish border,” as the Polish police said in a statement.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed his condolences during the joint press conference with the Latvian and Polish presidents, Edgars Rinkēvičs and Andrzej Duda, at the Bucharest Summit in Latvia.

“My thoughts go to his family, his loved ones,” Stoltenberg said.

“What we see along the border between Poland and Belarus is an example of different types of hybrid activities which we see as a pattern across the Alliance, where migrants are used to try to intimidate neighbours,” he argued.

He added that there have been several arrests across NATO, and there are ongoing legal processes.

“But what NATO can do is to increase awareness, exchange information, increase the protection of critical infrastructure, and ensure that we share intelligence in a way that helps Allies to address these different types of hybrid threats,” Stoltenberg stressed.

After the soldier was attacked, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced that additional troops would be deployed at the border.

Since mid-2021, Poland has experienced increased pressure on its border with Belarus. Both Warsaw and Brussels believe the Minsk regime is orchestrating the migration.

Earlier in May, Tusk announced that Poland’s border with Belarus would be strengthened, including by reinforcing border infrastructure.

“There is no limit of resources when it comes to Poland’s security,” he said.

(Aleksandra Krzysztoszek | Euractiv.pl)

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