Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 26

Belarusan KGB Chairman (still so titled) Uladzimir Matskevich charged over the weekend that Polish intelligence services have recently "intensified their activity in Belarus" and currently are "frantically recruiting Belarusan citizens." Speaking at a briefing, he continued by saying, "This activity has assumed proportions that clearly threaten the national security of Belarus." He claimed that Poland acts "in the interest of third countries and under their special services’ supervision" — an allusion to NATO countries. More sweepingly, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka charged during a border inspection tour that Belarusan "opposition groups, some of them armed, are roaming along the border" on the Polish side.

Foreign Minister Ivan Antanovich, while professing, for his part, the goal to reduce recent tensions with Poland, endorsed Matskevich’s claims. Antanovich stated that Belarus will consult with "its ally Russia" and propose that Belarus, Poland and Russia discuss the matter among themselves, "in order to prevent third forces from dictating what we should do here… The three countries are fully capable of settling this situation by themselves." (Russian agencies, February 6-7)

Last week, Belarus recalled its ambassador from Poland "for consultations." Official Minsk has repeatedly accused the CIA and other Western intelligence services of subverting Belarus and even of operating out of Poland. But the latest charges, targeting Warsaw directly, may represent yet another signal from some Moscow circles–a mediated signal in this case–that they can play the Belarus card against Poland after the latter has officially been invited to join NATO. (See Monitor, January 30 and February 6 )

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