Marek Świerczyński, head of the security and international affairs department of Polityka Insight, commenting on TVN24 on the communication strategy of the authorities around the incident with Belarusian helicopters that violated Polish airspace, pointed out, among other things, the insufficient flow of information and data. – It would seem that this is an event that we have already dealt with, even quite recently. And another thing happens, this time already visible to the naked eye – he noted. He assessed that the current situation “should, at this very moment, be another lesson, or a lesson to be learned.”
On Tuesday, Polish airspace was violated by two Belarusian helicopters. The machines were noticed in the morning by the inhabitants of the Białowieża area, but the army initially denied that such an incident had occurred. It was only in the evening, after 7 p.m., that the Ministry of Defense admitted in an official communiqué that the Polish airspace had been violated that day.
Head of the ministry Mariusz Blaszczak ordered to increase the number of soldiers on the border and allocate additional forces and resources, including combat helicopters. The incident has been reported FOR THIS. The chargé d’affaires of the embassy was immediately summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Belarus.
READ MORE IN KONKRET24: “Routine flights”, “no anomaly”. Ten hours of waiting for information
“It would seem that this is an event that we have already dealt with”
Marek Świerczyński, the head of the security and international affairs department of Polityka Insight, and the author of analytical texts on, among others, Poland’s defense policy, NATO, conflicts and crises, were asked about this incident and how to react to it. “It would seem that this is an event that we have already dealt with, even quite recently,” he said, referring to the case of an unarmed Russian-made missile that fell in December 2022 near Bydgoszcz.
– There was a big row and there were assurances that the system was fixed. We heard Minister Błaszczak, who assured that after the inspection carried out at the Operational Command, all procedures were reviewed and functioned efficiently – he mentioned. “And another thing happens, this time visible to the naked eye,” he noted.
Świerczyński assessed that “something very strange happened again in the communication sphere”. – But it seems to me that there was also something wrong with the flow of specific data. Even if, which I find hard to believe, there was no soldier in Białowieża who could identify these aircraft even visually and somehow inform his superiors within the chain of command, well, there is information from the population, from the Border Guard, and but it was this flow of information that apparently didn’t work,’ he said.
– It is not known who did not call or who called with untrue or imprecise information, anyway, for a dozen or so hours we were kept in great uncertainty and fear, because what was visible was you can see: helicopters with a red star – he continued.
Świerczyński noted on TVN24 that the situation related to the Belarusian helicopters “should, at this very moment, be another lesson or a lesson to be learned”.
“Anyway, this is a situation that happens all the time Ukrainebecause there, for a very long time, the population has been simply included in the system of notification, warning, such pre-emptive reconnaissance or military reconnaissance, (information) what is flying, where it is flying, at what altitude it is flying and so on – he pointed out. – As you can see, we are learning these Ukrainian solutions too slowly – admitted the expert.
“We need to close the gap”
When asked what should happen now, Świerczyński replied that “there are no good ways out of bad situations”.
– We are in a very bad situation when it comes to our eastern neighbor, Belarus. It is a country that has undergone the most visible, deepest evolution from a neighbor that at least tolerates our membership in NATO and the West, towards a country that is openly hostile to us, he noted.
Now, as he said, “some postulate more radically that it was necessary to shoot, that these helicopters should have been neutralized.” “Of course, this is a last resort, it’s better not to happen,” he stressed.
He added: – A diplomatic response is of course the first step and a military response in the sense of information exchange. Apparently, the Belarusians reported that there are exercises. We should, and so did, notify NATO that such a violation has occurred. But as you can see, it has not yet reached the level of threat that we would, for example, request a session of the North Atlantic Council under article four.
The Parties will consult jointly whenever, in the opinion of either of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.
Świerczyński recommended that “we need to close the gap, especially in terms of detection, quick notification, also to us as the public.” – Authorities need to react faster. The passage of time and contradictory messages is an unacceptable situation in the realities of a frontline country, because we are simply at the front of a kind of war – he concluded.
Main photo source: Eliza Kowalczyk/Private Archive