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Now Russia threatens Poland: Putin kills 80 Polish fighters in ‘precision strikes’ in east Ukraine

Tensions between Russia and NATO member Poland have risen to boiling point in recent days, amid Russian claims it killed “up to 80 Polish mercenaries” in rocket attacks.

The reported losses come on the same day that Russia confirmed it has removed a Polish flag from a memorial commemorating the murder of thousands of Poles by the Soviet Union in 1940.

In the north, Moscow is outraged by Lithuania’s blockade of EU-sanctioned goods from reaching the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, sandwiched between the Baltic state and Poland.

This has prompted Poland to call on NATO to further strengthen its security presence in the Suwalki Gorge, the narrow territorial corridor linking the three Baltic states to the rest of their NATO allies and separating Kaliningrad from Russia’s ally Belarus.

“We are going to seek the reinforcement of this corridor… in our talks with our NATO partners,” Mateusz Morawiecki told a press conference in Brussels after a European Union summit.

Kaliningrad and the Suwalki Gorge, on Polish territory, would be the basis for any military conflict between NATO and Russia, as Vladimir Putin would intervene immediately to cut off the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia from the rest of NATO and the isolated exclave of inevitable NATO attacks.

The Suwalki Gorge - named after the town of Suwalki that lies between the Russian territory of Kaliningrad and the border with Belarus - is a strategic bottleneck that Poland has called on NATO to strengthen to bolster Lithuanian security

The Suwalki Gorge – named after the town of Suwalki that lies between the Russian territory of Kaliningrad and the border with Belarus – is a strategic bottleneck that Poland has called on NATO to strengthen to bolster Lithuanian security

The aftermath of a Russian missile attack on a warehouse building in Druzhkivka, just a few miles from the Megatex zinc plant in Konstantinovka, where Russia has demanded a 'precision attack' that killed 80 Polish fighters

The aftermath of a Russian missile attack on a warehouse building in Druzhkivka, just a few miles from the Megatex zinc plant in Konstantinovka, where Russia has demanded a ‘precision attack’ that killed 80 Polish fighters

Trucks stand on the tracks of the freight station in Kaliningrad on Tuesday after Lithuania imposed a blockade on EU-sanctioned goods crossing its territory from Belarus to Kaliningrad

Trucks stand on the tracks of the freight station in Kaliningrad on Tuesday after Lithuania imposed a blockade on EU-sanctioned goods crossing its territory from Belarus to Kaliningrad

Estonia's military said in a statement that the Russian MI-8 helicopter (pictured flying over Saint Petersburg) has entered the country's airspace in southeastern Estonia, simulating rocket attacks.

Estonia’s military said in a statement that the Russian MI-8 helicopter (pictured flying over Saint Petersburg) has entered the country’s airspace in southeastern Estonia, simulating rocket attacks.

This week, Moscow warned of “very harsh actions” against Lithuania after deliveries of coal, metals, building materials and advanced technology were halted on its territory en route to Kaliningrad.

The Lithuanian charge d’affaires in Moscow was told that Russia reserves the right to act to protect its national interests unless cargo transit resumes in the near future.

Such talks have prompted Poland to request additional NATO reinforcements around the city of Suwalki to protect Lithuania’s security from Russian incursions.

Russian claims of exterminating 80 Polish fighters will only increase tensions.

“Up to 80 Polish mercenaries, 20 armored fighting vehicles and eight Grad multiple rocket launchers were destroyed in precision attacks on the Megatex zinc plant in Konstantinovka” in the Donetsk region, the Russian defense ministry said in a statement that could not be independently verified.

It is a common Russian tactic to accuse Western volunteers fighting in the Ukrainian armed forces of being paid mercenaries and thus being exempt from the Geneva Convention’s rules on the treatment of prisoners of war.

The irony that the Ukrainians do not miss is that Russia employs real mercenaries from the Wagner group, who pay it a much higher wage package than its own troops.

Poland fully supported Lithuania’s blockade of Russian material to its Baltic exclave, and it has been reported that Russian Railways has temporarily suspended some freight traffic from Belarus to Poland.

Russia considers this a routine disruption, but its timing gives the appearance of retaliation.

And Estonia’s military said in a statement on Tuesday that a Russian MI-8 helicopter entered the country’s airspace in southeastern Estonia in the Koidula area — not far from the Russian city of Pskov — without permission on Saturday night, launching rocket attacks. simulated.

The helicopter was in Estonia’s airspace for nearly two minutes, the Estonian military said, adding that it had not presented a flight plan, the transponder was turned off and had no radio contact with Estonian Air Navigation Services.

The alleged breach was one of several violations of Estonia’s airspace this year and comes less than a week before a planned NATO summit in Madrid.

And to further escalate tensions between the two historic enemies, Russian authorities have removed a Polish flag from a memorial commemorating the murder of thousands of Poles by the Soviet Union.

Members of a Polish historical group take part in the Katyn Shadow March reconstruction at the Monument to those who fell or were killed in the East in Warsaw, Poland, April 14, 2013

Members of a Polish historical group take part in the Katyn Shadow March reconstruction at the Monument to those who fell or were killed in the East in Warsaw, Poland, April 14, 2013

A Polish girl scout carries a candle she accepted from mourners to place outside the presidential palace in memory of the late Polish president Lech Kaczynski on April 12, 2010 in Warsaw

A Polish girl scout carries a candle she accepted from mourners to place outside the presidential palace in memory of the late Polish president Lech Kaczynski on April 12, 2010 in Warsaw

Pictured: An outpouring of grief at the gate of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw on April 10, 2010, following the spread of news of the tragic crash of the presidential plane at Smolensk airport earlier in the day

Pictured: An outpouring of grief at the gate of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw on April 10, 2010, following the spread of news of the tragic crash of the presidential plane at Smolensk airport earlier in the day

Historians and visitors to the Katyn Monument in western Russia’s Smolensk region noted Friday that the flag disappeared on social media.

The mayor of the city of Smolensk confirmed the removal on Friday evening and published a photo showing the Russian flag flying alone at the entrance to the monument.

‘There should be no Polish flags on Russian monuments. Even less so after the outright anti-Russian comments by Polish political leaders,” Andrei Borisov said on the social media platform VKontakte.

“The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation has made the right decision by removing the Polish flag. Katyn is a Russian monument.’

The Katyn Monument was erected in memory of the 25,000 Poles, mostly army officers who were considered anti-Communist, and were massacred in 1940 on the orders of Joseph Stalin by the Soviet Union political police in a forest near Smolensk.

The Soviet Union had long denied responsibility for the murders and accused the Nazis of the crime, before admitting the truth in 1990.

The episode already poisoned hostile relations between Russia and Poland.

In 2010, a Smolensk plane carrying the Polish president crashed en route to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, killing all 96 passengers, including most of the Polish government.

The investigation into the incident sparked a plethora of conspiracy theories and became a new source of tension after the countries tried to improve their ties.

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