Poland has decided to strengthen its border with Belarus by sending several thousand troops to defend it.
Warsaw is preparing for possible provocations from Russian Wagner mercenaries deployed in Belarus, the PAP media reported.
The increase in the number of border troops is linked to the recent violation of Polish airspace by the Wagner fighters. Two Belarusian helicopters illegally crossed the Polish border.
Strengthening Poland’s border
Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said that Poland has decided to increase the presence of troops on the border by several thousand. He announced 10,000 soldiers, the same number as in 2021.
At the same time, 4,000 soldiers will be directly on the border, and another 6,000 will be in reserve. They will improve their skills in garrisons.
The reason for this is the activity of Wagnerites in Belarus and possible provocations. In addition, the number of migrants from the Middle East and Africa has recently increased. They are trying to cross the Polish border from Belarus.
Blaszczak also said that Poland aims to create the largest land army in Europe within 2 years.
In case of new provocations by Belarus, Poland is considering closing border crossings. This also applies to railway lines. This was stated by the Deputy Minister of the Interior, Maciej Wonsik.
Representatives of the Polish and Lithuanian authorities concluded that such a move was likely after a recent conversation. If Belarus allows itself too much, there should be a corresponding reaction. In this case, the mechanism will completely isolate the Lukashenko regime. Latvia and Lithuania should join this plan.
Wagner armed mercenaries are moving near the border with Poland and Lithuania. For example, they were seen in the Suwalki corridor and at a recreation centre 2 kilometres from the border.
NATO has stated that it does not see a threat from Wagner but is monitoring the situation. In response, the Alliance has increased its defensive presence on its eastern borders.
How did the Wagner fighters end up in Belarus?
After the aborted mutiny of Wagner PMC boss Yevgeny Prigozhin in late June in Russia, the Kremlin announced the relocation of mercenaries to Belarus. On June 27, the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, confirmed the arrival of Yevgeny Prigozhin in the country.
On June 29, a satellite detected the erection of a tent camp near Osipovichi in the Mogilev region. Later, Russian media published a photo of a suspected base for Wagner mercenaries.
On July 11, the Ministry of Defence of Belarus stated that the Wagnerians would teach the Belarusian army how to fight. Later, the training sessions with units of the territorial troops were taking place near Osipovichi (Belarus), where Wagner PMC fighters were acting as instructors in some military disciplines.
On July 16, the monitoring group Belaruski Gaius reported that two flags – of Russia and Wagner PMC – had been installed at the checkpoint on the border between Belarus and Russia.
Wagner PMC financier Yevgeny Prigozhin spoke to Wagner members in Belarus, calling the situation at the front a “disgrace” and urging the mercenaries to “wait for the moment to prove themselves to the fullest”.
The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, stated that the mercenaries from the Russian Wagner PMC stationed in his country wanted to “go on an excursion” to Poland.
On July 27, it was reported that units of Wagner’s private military company were looking for people in Belarus who were ready to fight against Lithuania and Poland. Also on that day, Gayun reported that the 12th column of Wagner PMCs, which included at least 50 pieces of equipment, had arrived in Belarus.
On July 28, Ukrainian official sources warned that Wagner’s men were preparing provocations on the border of Belarus with the EU. Also, on that day, the 13th column of mercenaries was spotted in Belarus.
On July 29, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that more than 100 Wagnerites had gone to the Suwalki corridor.