Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko has said Wagner’s group of mercenaries is “eager” to march on Poland.
During a meeting with Vladimir Putin on Sunday, Lukashenko reportedly said he was “stressed out” because he had to contain them.
A video posted on Twitter by Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine’s internal affairs minister, shows Lukashenko saying: “They are asking to go to the West: ‘Let us,’ said Lukashenko.
‘I said, ‘Why do you want to go west?’ So they say: “We control what happens: let’s take an excursion to Warsaw and Rzeszow”, referring to the Polish capital and a key military center for the country.
Based less than 10 km from the Polish border, the Wagner group was exiled to Belarus after an apparent failed coup to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin (left) and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (right) visit the Museum of Naval Glory during a visit to Kronstadt on Kotlin Island outside Saint Petersburg on July 23, 2023.
Belarusian Special Operations Forces (SOF) soldiers attend week-long exercises with mercenary fighters from the private military company Wagner, on July 20, 2023.
Lukashenko added: ‘I will keep them in central Belarus, as we agreed. We are controlling what is happening. [But] they are in a bad mood.
He also presented Putin with a map showing what he said were Polish plans to attack Belarus.
Poland recently moved 1,000 troops into Belarus to tighten security, as footage appears to show Wagner’s forces training with Belarusian troops on the Polish border.
The footage appears to show Wagner’s forces training with Belarusian troops on the border with Poland.
Belarus is bordered to the northwest by Lithuania and to the west by Poland.
It is separated from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad by the Suwałki Gap, the border between Lithuania and Poland.
The gap is NATO’s eastern flank, considered a point of vulnerability as, if breached, it could isolate the Baltic states from their Western allies.
Russia accuses Poland of making aggressive moves to the east.
On Friday, Putin said: “Poland’s leaders are likely to seek to establish a coalition under the NATO umbrella and directly join the conflict in Ukraine, and then ‘rip off’ a larger part for themselves, restore their, they believe, historical territory – present-day Western Ukraine.”
Poland formerly dominated much of Central and Eastern Europe as part of a larger community with Lithuania and included parts of present-day Ukraine.
It lost much of its territory during a period of crisis in the 18th century and was partitioned by Russia in 1772, 1792 and 1795, irreparably souring relations.
While many Poles may lament the new borders imposed by Russia after World War II, there is no serious reason for Poland to try to “recapture” old territories, such as Lviv.
The Polish government has pledged to establish a sapper battalion nearby to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank and secure the Suwałki Gap.
A Belarusian soldier prepares to fire an automatic grenade launcher during week-long maneuvers with Wagner PMC near the Belarusian border city of Brest on July 20, 2023.
Ukrainian servicemen from the 1st Brigade of the Ukrainian National Guard fire an OTO-Melara Mod 56, an Italian-made 105mm pack howitzer, towards Russian troops on the front line, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine July 23, 2023
According to US intelligence reports, Russia has also deployed nuclear weapons in the puppet state of Belarus.
On Sunday, Pole Marcin Przydacz, head of the Office of International Policy in the Office of the President, said: “The decision by the Russians to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus causes an increase in the instability of the threat.
‘This is by no means an act resulting from some necessity. It is a desire to escalate and provoke additional tensions. This is how Russian stocks should be viewed.’
In response to the increasing hostilities, and in addition to the 1,000 troops deployed in the border area, the Polish government has announced that a sapper battalion will now be established nearby.
The comments come as Poland moved 1,000 troops to the Belarusian border and the Kremlin accused Poland of territorial ambitions in Ukraine.