Poland will strengthen its eastern border with neighboring Belarus as Wagner Group mercenaries relocate to the Moscow-allied country following their failed mutiny against Russia’s military leadership, Polish officials said Wednesday.
Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said Wagner’s expected move to Belarus was “a new and much more difficult stage of [Russia’s] hybrid war,” according to the broadcaster TVN24.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed this week that Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin had arrived in Minsk as part of a deal to stop the private military outfit’s march on Moscow.
Multiple unconfirmed reports suggest that construction is underway in central Belarus for a camp that is said to be intended to accommodate thousands of Wagner fighters.
“This element [Wagner] — which is dangerous to Ukraine and the Ukrainians know that — is also potentially dangerous to Lithuania, and could also be dangerous to us,” Kaczynski said.
“Decisions have been made regarding strengthening our defense at the eastern border,” Kaczynski added, referring to “both short-term and permanent” reinforcements.
Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said earlier this week that Warsaw had strengthened its borders with Belarus and Russia’s western enclave of Kaliningrad amid the fallout from Prigozhin’s armed mutiny.
Meanwhile, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland on Monday agreed to coordinate and enhance border measures at crossings with both Russia and Belarus.