Over 100 Wagner Troops Moving Towards Polish Border: Poland PM Mateusz Morawiecki
Pland PM Morawiecki alleged that Belarus, a key ally to Russia, has been sending migrants westward in an attempt to overwhelm Polish border forces.
Warsaw: Poland Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, on Saturday, claimed that over 100 troops from the Russian mercenary group, Wagner, are moving towards a thin strip of land between Poland and Lithuania, CNN reported. The Poland PM said that his government had received information that Wagner mercenaries went near the Grodno, a city in western Belarus close to the land, which is also known as the Suwalki gap or corridor. Thousands of Wagner troops are reportedly in Belarus following a failed military uprising in Russia.
Morawiecki alleged that Belarus, a key ally to Russia, has been sending migrants westward in an attempt to overwhelm Polish border forces. And till now, this year, around 16,000 attempts were made by migrants to cross the border illegally, he added. The troop movements, Morawiecki added, appeared to be another element in this campaign to destabilize the border., according to CNN
“They will probably be disguised as Belarusian border guards and will help illegal immigrants to enter Polish territory, destabilize Poland, but they will also probably try to infiltrate Poland pretending to be illegal immigrants and this creates additional risks,” he said, according to CNN.
What exactly Wagner's troops are doing in Grodno is unclear, as Wagner has not commented on the reports. But deploying Russian-allied forces near the Suwalki corridor would represent an escalation that could rattle NATO and EU members.
Earlier, the Lithuanian deputy interior minister said his country and Poland were considering blocking their respective borders with Belarus amid concerns about the presence of the Wagner mercenary group there, Al Jazeera reported. Following their brief insurrection against the senior military brass of Russia, the Wagner fighters have been staying in Belarus.
“The considerations are real. The possibility of closing the border exists,” Arnoldas Abramavicius told reporters regarding the border closure, according to Al Jazeera. Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, took credit for arranging the agreement between Prigozhin and Russian President Vladimir Putin that put an end to the insurrection. Since then, Lukashenko has invited the Wagner forces to Belarus to assist in military training.