Former Polish Defense Minister Calls for Landmines on Russian Border

Former defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak is also calling for the rejection of the landmine ban.

Poland should withdraw from the ban on anti-personnel mines and deploy them along the border with Kaliningrad Region, former defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak has said.

Blaszczak is currently a member of parliament with the Law and Justice (PiS) party. He was the defense minister from 2018 until 2023, when PiS lost power to Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform coalition.

“As part of the program to strengthen the eastern border, the authorities must withdraw from the Ottawa Convention,” Blaszczak said at a PiS press conference on Wednesday, referring to the treaty banning the use of anti-personnel landmines.

Warsaw should then mine the length of its border with Kaliningrad Region, the Russian territory between Poland and Lithuania, Blaszczak argued.

Last month, Tusk publicly opposed mining the border with Russia and Belarus, a move originally proposed by the PiS government. According to Tusk, Warsaw does not intend to leave the Ottawa Convention, either.

The treaty that banned the use, production, stockpiling and proliferation of landmines came into effect in 1999 and has been ratified by 164 countries. The US, Russia, India and China are among the dozen nations that have declined to participate in the ban.

Blaszczak oversaw the deployment of tens of thousands of Polish troops along the border with Russia and Belarus last year, in the run-up to the general election. The new government has chosen to continue that mission, citing the alleged “hybrid war” threat from Moscow and Minsk.

Warsaw has been an outspoken supporter of Ukraine under both Tusk and the previous PiS government. Poland has also served as the logistics hub for almost all deliveries of NATO weapons, equipment, and ammunition to Ukraine since the conflict with Russia escalated in February 2022.