Poland – The arrival and stationing in Belarus of mercenaries belonging to the Wagner Group – lead by Yevgeny Prigozhin – following their failed rebellion at the end of June 2023 is raising suspicion and concern in both Lithuania and Poland. Those concerns are being further fed by Alexander Lukashenko’s provocations.
At a press conference in Sutno, a village near the Belarusian border, on July 27, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki pointed out that Poland, like neighbouring Lithuania, has been confronted by a hybrid war on its eastern border with Belarus for the past two years: “We’re not talking about jokes or a few attempts to cross the border illegally.
This is an action planned by our enemies – Russia and Belarus – who want to destroy our peace and order.
[…] It is a clear signal of what would happen on our eastern border if we had not secured it. Our opponents voted against the physical barrier protecting Poland’s eastern border. ”
Referring to the presence of the Wagner Group on Belarusian soil in recent weeks, where they are now training personnel of the Belarusian territorial forces, the Polish PM said he considers this to be an increased threat to Poland: “They are extremely dangerous, ruthless, and merciless mercenaries.
Without the Polish borders being secured by our officers and soldiers, and without the provision of adequate resources by our government, we would have had the Wagner Group in Warsaw in two hours. ”
For his part, former minister and Belarusian ambassador Pavel Latushka, an opponent of the Minsk regime since the 2020 presidential elections, considers that the Belarusian authorities could be disguising mercenaries as migrants in order to destabilize the situation at the border: “The Belarusian regime is hitting Poles living in Grodno, but it also has plans to destabilise the border with Poland. […] The purpose of their stay is to help the military there to train and learn. The second reason is to use Belarus as a transit and logistical hub to further redirect the Wagner Group to African countries […]
Now Putin and Lukashenko may have plans to use Wagner Group mercenaries, disguised as migrants, to trigger a local conflict on the border with NATO countries.”
Interviewed by Radio 24, Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński said that the Wagner Group’s mercenaries “are not there for entertainment, but to create all kinds of crises, mainly directed against Poland. We don’t yet know what form they will take, whether they will be a continuation of hybrid warfare in a more acute form or something even worse. We need to be prepared.”