Russian military exercises behind state of emergency says PM
Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, has said the Zapad-2021 military exercises taking place in Russia and Belarus lie behind the declaration of a state of emergency in areas of land adjacent to the Belarusian border.
The prime minister's comments appear to contradict previous government statements on the reasons for the state of emergency, which was declared on Thursday by President Andrzej Duda following a government request.
Until now, the government has said the state of emergency is needed to stem an increasing flow of migrants coming across the border.
But at a press conference on Monday following a security services briefing on the situation on the border with Belarus, Morawiecki said that concerns over the military exercises led to the declaration.
"Such large-scale military exercises as Zapad-2021, involving such a large number of troops, may be associated with numerous provocations," said Morawiecki.
He added that explosions had been heard on the Belarusian side, close to the border with Poland.
"Therefore, we decided to introduce state of emergency at the border," he said.
Russia and Belarus hold the large-scale Zapad (West) war games every four years. In 2017, the exercises were held in areas bordering Poland, the Baltic States, Ukraine and Finland.