Poland Doubles Border Guard On Fears Wagner Fighters Might ‘Infiltrate’
Poland confirmed Wednesday that it is in the process of doubling the size of its guard forces along the border with Belarus, the latter which forms a ‘union state’ with Putin’s Russia.
Warsaw officials have put the number at an additional 2,000 troops being deployed amid ongoing fears of the Wagner mercenary build-up on the other side of the border. Wagner has been training Belarusian forces, and it is widely believed multiple thousands are now housed at bases there, after an invitation by President Viktor Lukashenko.
Last week Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said NATO’s eastern flank faces the likelihood of “provocations” and “sabotage actions” from Belarus given the Wagner presence. Wagner had relocated many of this fighters to Belarus after the June 23-24 mutiny events.
According to further details in The New York Times, “The minister, Maciej Wasik, said that the deployment was double what the country’s Border Guard had requested and that the reinforcements would arrive in two weeks, according to PAP, Poland’s state news agency.”
Belarus didn’t immediately react to the force build-up on the Polish side. It has, however, approved of recent provocative military drills along the border.
Poland last week alleged that two Belarusian helicopters violated Poland’s airspace, during what Minsk described as training exercises. The exercises appear to be sporadic and ongoing.
Prime Minister Morawiecki has gone so far as to claim PMC Wagner fighters “may try infiltrating Poland”—though there has as yet been no evidence of any hostile action by Wagner or border breaches.
The Belarusian Defense Ministry has denied the now frequent allegations coming out of Poland, and has suggested it is actually Warsaw engaged in “far-fetched” provocations meant to justify a build-up of NATO forces near Belarus.
“Accusations of a violation of the Polish border by Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters of the Belarusian Air Force and air defense forces are farfetched and made by the Polish military and political leadership to justify the build-up of forces and means at the Belarusian border,” the ministry said last week.
Thu, 08/10/2023 – 02:45