On Saturday, it was reported that Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki issued a warning about the apparent movement of roughly 100 Russian Wagner mercenaries progressing toward Poland via Belarus.
As a European Union and NATO member, Poland has blamed Belarus for employing “hybrid warfare” by fostering illegal immigration on the Polish border.
Poland claims that Minsk has lured migrants with deceptive promises of easy passage into the European Union, according to the BBC.
At a Gliwice-based arms factory press conference in southern Poland, where Ukrainian military Leopard tanks are under repair, Morawiecki stated that about 100 Wagner mercenaries had advanced near the Suwalki Gap, as reported by The Associated Press.
This area is a crucial part of Polish territory between Belarus and Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave. The Suwalki Gap also traces Poland’s 60-mile border with Lithuania, a fellow EU member.
Morawiecki voiced concerns that the mercenaries could pose as Belarusian border patrol to assist migrants in crossing to the EU. “The situation is becoming increasingly perilous,” he warned, declaring, “This is undeniably an escalation of the hybrid assault on Polish soil.”
Since last month’s fleeting rebellion led by Wagner’s head, Yevgeny Prigozhin, thousands of Russian mercenaries have supposedly moved to Belarus.
Prigozhin was seen publicly for the first time post the unsuccessful coup a few days back at an African summit in Russia marking the Niger coup.
During a recent conversation, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko assured Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Wagner mercenaries would be kept in central Belarus.
Lukashenko shared with Putin that they were seeking to head west, towards Warsaw, Poland’s capital. “However, as agreed, I’m ensuring they stay in central Belarus,” Lukashenko stated.
On Thursday, the Interior Ministry of Poland announced that Lithuania, Poland, and Latvia might collectively decide to close their borders with Belarus if incidents involving Wagner mercenaries occur on the border.
The Poland-Belarus border has been a hotspot of tension for several years following the influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
The Polish government has accused Russia and Belarus of using these migrants as pawns to destabilize Poland and other EU nations, responding by constructing a formidable wall along part of its border with Belarus.